Rigveda

Rigveda

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The Rigveda is an ancient Indian
Indian subcontinent
The Indian subcontinent, also Indian Subcontinent, Indo-Pak Subcontinent or South Asian Subcontinent is a region of the Asian continent on the Indian tectonic plate from the Hindu Kush or Hindu Koh, Himalayas and including the Kuen Lun and Karakoram ranges, forming a land mass which extends...

 sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit
Vedic Sanskrit
Vedic Sanskrit is an old Indo-Aryan language. It is an archaic form of Sanskrit, an early descendant of Proto-Indo-Iranian. It is closely related to Avestan, the oldest preserved Iranian language...

 hymns. It is counted among the four canonical sacred texts (śruti
Sruti
' , often spelled shruti or shruthi, is a term that describes the sacred texts comprising the central canon of Hinduism and is one of the three main sources of dharma and therefore is also influential within Hindu Law...

) of Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

 known as the Vedas
Vedas
The Vedas are a large body of texts originating in ancient India. Composed in Vedic Sanskrit, the texts constitute the oldest layer of Sanskrit literature and the oldest scriptures of Hinduism....

.
Some of its verses are still recited as Hindu prayers, at religious functions and other occasions, putting these among the world's oldest religious text
Religious text
Religious texts, also known as scripture, scriptures, holy writ, or holy books, are the texts which various religious traditions consider to be sacred, or of central importance to their religious tradition...

s in continued use. The Rigveda contains several mythological and poetical accounts of the origin of the world, hymns praising the gods, and ancient prayers for life, prosperity, etc.

It is one of the oldest extant texts in any Indo-European language. Philological
Philology
Philology is the study of language in written historical sources; it is a combination of literary studies, history and linguistics.Classical philology is the philology of Greek and Classical Latin...

 and linguistic
Historical linguistics
Historical linguistics is the study of language change. It has five main concerns:* to describe and account for observed changes in particular languages...

 evidence indicate that the Rigveda was composed in the north-western region of the Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
The Indian subcontinent, also Indian Subcontinent, Indo-Pak Subcontinent or South Asian Subcontinent is a region of the Asian continent on the Indian tectonic plate from the Hindu Kush or Hindu Koh, Himalayas and including the Kuen Lun and Karakoram ranges, forming a land mass which extends...

, roughly between 1700–1100 BC (the early Vedic period
Vedic period
The Vedic period was a period in history during which the Vedas, the oldest scriptures of Hinduism, were composed. The time span of the period is uncertain. Philological and linguistic evidence indicates that the Rigveda, the oldest of the Vedas, was composed roughly between 1700–1100 BCE, also...

).

Text


The surviving form of the Rigveda is based on an early Iron Age
Iron Age India
Iron Age India, the Iron Age in the Indian subcontinent, succeeds the Late Harappan culture, also known as the last phase of the Indus Valley Tradition...

 (c. 10th c. BC) collection that established the core 'family books' (mandalas 2–7, ordered by author, deity and meter ) and a later redaction, co-eval with the redaction of the other Vedas, dating several centuries after the hymns were composed. This redaction also included some additions (contradicting the strict ordering scheme) and orthoepic changes to the Vedic Sanskrit
Vedic Sanskrit
Vedic Sanskrit is an old Indo-Aryan language. It is an archaic form of Sanskrit, an early descendant of Proto-Indo-Iranian. It is closely related to Avestan, the oldest preserved Iranian language...

 such as the regularization
Regularization (linguistics)
In linguistics, regularization is a phenomenon in language acquisition and language development, whereby irregular forms in morphology, syntax, etc., are replaced by regular ones. Examples are "gooses" instead of "geese" in child speech and replacement of the Middle English plural form for "cow",...

 of sandhi
Sandhi
Sandhi is a cover term for a wide variety of phonological processes that occur at morpheme or word boundaries . Examples include the fusion of sounds across word boundaries and the alteration of sounds due to neighboring sounds or due to the grammatical function of adjacent words...

 (termed orthoepische Diaskeuase by Oldenberg, 1888).

As with the other Vedas, the redacted text has been handed down in several versions, most importantly the Padapatha that has each word isolated in pausa
Pausa
In linguistics, pausa is the end of a prosodic unit, such as an utterance. Some sound laws specifically operate in pausa only; for example, certain phonemes may be pronounced differently at the end of a word, when no other word follows within the same prosodic unit, such as in citation form...

 form and is used for just one way of memorization; and the Samhitapatha that combines words according to the rules of sandhi (the process being described in the Pratisakhya
Pratisakhya
Pratisakhyas, collectively constituting four treatises, are works dealing with the phonetic aspects of the Sanskrit language used in Vedas. These works mainly pertain to euphonic permutation and combination of letters and special characteristics of their pronunciation as they prevailed in various...

) and is the memorized text used for recitation.

The Padapatha and the Pratisakhya anchor the text's fidelity and meaning and the fixed text was preserved with unparalleled fidelity for more than a millennium by oral tradition
Oral tradition
Oral tradition and oral lore is cultural material and traditions transmitted orally from one generation to another. The messages or testimony are verbally transmitted in speech or song and may take the form, for example, of folktales, sayings, ballads, songs, or chants...

 alone. In order to achieve this the oral tradition prescribed very structured enunciation, involving breaking down the Sanskrit compounds into stem
Word stem
In linguistics, a stem is a part of a word. The term is used with slightly different meanings.In one usage, a stem is a form to which affixes can be attached. Thus, in this usage, the English word friendships contains the stem friend, to which the derivational suffix -ship is attached to form a new...

s and inflections, as well as certain permutations. This interplay with sounds gave rise to a scholarly tradition of morphology
Morphology (linguistics)
In linguistics, morphology is the identification, analysis and description, in a language, of the structure of morphemes and other linguistic units, such as words, affixes, parts of speech, intonation/stress, or implied context...

 and phonetics
Phonetics
Phonetics is a branch of linguistics that comprises the study of the sounds of human speech, or—in the case of sign languages—the equivalent aspects of sign. It is concerned with the physical properties of speech sounds or signs : their physiological production, acoustic properties, auditory...

. The Rigveda was probably not written down until the Gupta period (4th to 6th century AD), by which time the Brahmi script
Brāhmī script
Brāhmī is the modern name given to the oldest members of the Brahmic family of scripts. The best-known Brāhmī inscriptions are the rock-cut edicts of Ashoka in north-central India, dated to the 3rd century BCE. These are traditionally considered to be early known examples of Brāhmī writing...

 had become widespread (the oldest surviving manuscripts date to the Late Middle Ages). The oral tradition still continued into recent times.

The original text (as authored by the Rishi
Rishi
Rishi denotes the composers of Vedic hymns. However, according to post-Vedic tradition, the rishi is a "seer" to whom the Vedas were "originally revealed" through states of higher consciousness. The rishis were prominent when Vedic Hinduism took shape, as far back as some three thousand years...

s) is close to but not identical to the extant Samhitapatha, but metrical and other observations allow to reconstruct (in part at least) the original text from the extant one, as printed in the Harvard Oriental Series, vol. 50 (1994).

Organization


The text is organized in 10 books, known as Mandalas, of varying age and length. The "family books": mandalas 2–7, are the oldest part of the Rigveda and the shortest books; they are arranged by length and account for 38% of the text. The eighth and ninth mandalas, comprising hymns of mixed age, account for 15% and 9%, respectively. The first and the tenth mandalas are the youngest; they are also the longest books, of 191 suktas each, accounting for 37% of the text.

Each mandala consists of hymns called (, literally, "well recited, eulogy") intended for various sacrificial ritual
Yajna
In Hinduism, yajna is a ritual of sacrifice derived from the practice of Vedic times. It is performed to please the gods or to attain certain wishes...

s. The s in turn consist of individual stanzas called ("praise", pl. ), which are further analysed into units of verse called ("foot"). The meters
Vedic meter
The verses of the Vedas have a variety of different meters. They are divided by number of padas in a verse, and by the number of syllables in a pada. Chandas , the study of Vedic meter, is one of the six Vedanga disciplines, or "organs of the vedas".*: 3 padas of 8 syllables-Principles:The main...

 most used in the are the jagati (a pada consists of 12 syllables), trishtubh (11), viraj (10), gayatri
Gayatri
Gayatri is the feminine form of , a Sanskrit word for a song or a hymn. Gayatri is a consort of Brahma and the goddess of learning. Brahma married her when there was a need for a companion during a yajna. Brahma had to start the yajna along with his wife...

 and anushtubh (8).

For pedagogical convenience, each mandala is synthetically divided into roughly equal sections of several sūktas, called ("recitation"), which modern publishers often omit. Another scheme divides the entire text over the 10 mandalas into ("eighth"), ("chapter") and ("class"). Some publishers give both classifications in a single edition.

The most common numbering scheme is by book, hymn and stanza (and pada a, b, c ..., if required). E.g., the first pada is
  • 1.1.1a "Agni I invoke, the housepriest"

and the final pada is
  • 10.191.4d

Recensions


The major Rigvedic shakha
Shakha
A shakha , is a Hindu theological school that specializes in learning certain Vedic texts, or else the traditional texts followed by such a school. An individual follower of a particular school or recension is called a ...

 ("branch", i. e. recension) that has survived is that of . Another shakha that may have survived is the , although this is uncertain. The surviving padapatha version of the Rigveda text is ascribed to Śākalya. The recension has 1,017 regular hymns, and an appendix of 11 hymns which are now customarily included in the 8th mandala (as 8.49–8.59), for a total of 1028 hymns. The recension includes 8 of these hymns among its regular hymns, making a total of 1025 regular hymns for this śākhā. In addition, the recension has its own appendix of 98 hymns, the Khilani
Khilani
The Khilani are a collection of 98 "apocryphal" hymns of the Rigveda, recorded in the , but not in the shakha. They are late additions to the text of the Rigveda, but still belong to the "Mantra" period of Vedic Sanskrit.-Literature:...

.

In the 1877 edition of Aufrecht, the 1028 hymns of the Rigveda contain a total of 10,552 , or 39,831 padas. The Shatapatha Brahmana
Shatapatha Brahmana
The Shatapatha Brahmana is one of the prose texts describing the Vedic ritual, associated with the Shukla Yajurveda. It survives in two recensions, Madhyandina and Kanva , with the former having the eponymous 100 adhyayas,7624 kandikas in 14 books, and the latter 104 adhyayas,6806 kandikas in 17...

 gives the number of syllables to be 432,000, while the metrical text of van Nooten and Holland (1994) has a total of 395,563 syllables (or an average of 9.93 syllables per pada); counting the number of syllables is not straightforward because of issues with sandhi and the post-Rigvedic pronunciation of syllables like súvar as svàr.

Rishis


Tradition associates a rishi
Rishi
Rishi denotes the composers of Vedic hymns. However, according to post-Vedic tradition, the rishi is a "seer" to whom the Vedas were "originally revealed" through states of higher consciousness. The rishis were prominent when Vedic Hinduism took shape, as far back as some three thousand years...

 (the composer) with each of the Rigveda. Most sūktas are attributed to single composers. The "family books" (2–7) are so-called because they have hymns by members of the same clan in each book; but other clans are also represented in the Rigveda. In all, 10 families of rishis account for more than 95% of the ; for each of them the Rigveda includes a lineage-specific hymn (a special sūkta of rigidly formulaic structure, used for animal sacrifice in the soma
Soma
Soma , or Haoma , from Proto-Indo-Iranian *sauma-, was a ritual drink of importance among the early Indo-Iranians, and the subsequent Vedic and greater Persian cultures. It is frequently mentioned in the Rigveda, whose Soma Mandala contains 114 hymns, many praising its energizing qualities...

 ritual
Yajna
In Hinduism, yajna is a ritual of sacrifice derived from the practice of Vedic times. It is performed to please the gods or to attain certain wishes...

).
Family Āprī
Angiras  I.142 3619 (especially Mandala 6
Mandala 6
The sixth Mandala of the Rig Veda has 75 hymns, mainly to Agni and Indra. Most hymns in this book are attributed to the family of Angirasas, especially to Bharadvaja...

)
Kanva  I.13 1315 (especially Mandala 8
Mandala 8
The eighth Mandala of the Rigveda has 103 hymns. Other than the "family books" and RV 1 and RV 10 , Mandala 8 cannot straightforwardly be dated as a whole relative to the other books, and its hymns may include both ancient and late...

)
Vasishtha  VII.2 1276 (Mandala 7
Mandala 7
The seventh Mandala of the Rigveda has 104 hymns. In the Rigveda Anukramani, all hymns in this book are attributed to Vasishta...

)
Vishvamitra  III.4 983 (Mandala 3
Mandala 3
The third Mandala of the Rigveda has 62 hymns, mainly to Agni and Indra. It is one of the "family books" , the oldest core of the Rigveda...

)
Atri
Atri
This article is about the sage named Attri. See also the gotra named Atri. For the Italian city, see Atri, AbruzzoIn Hinduism, Attri or Atri is a legendary bard and scholar and was one of 9 Prajapatis, and a son of Brahma, said to be ancestor of some Brahmin, Prajapatis, kshatriya and Vaishya...

 
V.5 885 (Mandala 5
Mandala 5
The fifth Mandala of the Rigveda has 87 hymns. Most hymns in this book are attributed to the family. The mandala is one of the "family books" , the oldest core of the Rigveda....

)
Bhrgu
Bhrigus
Maharishi Bhrigu was one of the seven great sages, the Saptarshis, in ancient India, one of the many Prajapatis created by Brahma , the first compiler of predictive astrology, and also the author of Bhrigu Samhita, the astrological classic written during the Vedic period, Treta yuga.Bhrigu is a...

 
X.110 473
Kashyapa  IX.5 415 (part of Mandala 9
Mandala 9
The ninth Mandala of the Rigveda, also called the Soma Mandala, has 114 hymns, entirely devoted to , "Purifying Soma", the sacred potion of the Vedic religion....

)
Grtsamada  II.3 401 (Mandala 2
Mandala 2
The second Mandala of the Rigveda has 43 hymns, mainly to Agni and Indra chiefly attributed to the Rishi The second Mandala of the [[Rigveda]] has 43 hymns, mainly to [[Agni]] and [[Indra]] chiefly attributed to the Rishi ...

)
Agastya
Agastya
Agastya was a Tamil/Vedic Siddhar or sage. Agastya and his clan are also generally credited with uncovering many mantras of the Rig Veda, the earliest and most revered Hindu scripture, in the sense of first having the mantras revealed in his mind by the Supreme Brahman...

 
I.188 316
Bharata  X.70 170

Manuscripts


There are, for example, 30 manuscripts of Rigveda at the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute
Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute
The Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute is located in Pune, Maharashtra, India. It was founded on July 6, 1917 to honor the life and work of Dr. Ramakrishna Gopal Bhandarkar , long regarded as the founder of Indology in India...

, collected in the 19th century by Georg Bühler
Georg Bühler
Professor Johann Georg Bühler was a scholar of ancient Indian languages and law.Bühler was born to Rev. Johann G...

, Franz Kielhorn and others, originating from different parts of India, including Kashmir
Kashmir
Kashmir is the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent. Until the mid-19th century, the term Kashmir geographically denoted only the valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal mountain range...

, Gujarat, the then Rajaputana, Central Provinces
Central Provinces
The Central Provinces was a province of British India. It comprised British conquests from the Mughals and Marathas in central India, and covered parts of present-day Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra states. Its capital was Nagpur....

 etc. They were transferred to Deccan College
Deccan College (Pune)
Deccan College Post-Graduate and Research Institute is a post-graduate institute of Archeology and Linguistics in Pune, India.Established October 6, 1821, Deccan College is one of the oldest institutions of modern learning in India...

, Pune
Pune
Pune , is the eighth largest metropolis in India, the second largest in the state of Maharashtra after Mumbai, and the largest city in the Western Ghats. Once the centre of power of the Maratha Empire, it is situated 560 metres above sea level on the Deccan plateau at the confluence of the Mula ...

, in the late 19th century. They are in the Sharada and Devanagari
Devanagari
Devanagari |deva]]" and "nāgarī" ), also called Nagari , is an abugida alphabet of India and Nepal...

 scripts, written on birch bark and paper. The oldest of them is dated to 1464. The 30 manuscripts of Rigveda preserved at the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute
Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute
The Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute is located in Pune, Maharashtra, India. It was founded on July 6, 1917 to honor the life and work of Dr. Ramakrishna Gopal Bhandarkar , long regarded as the founder of Indology in India...

, Pune
Pune
Pune , is the eighth largest metropolis in India, the second largest in the state of Maharashtra after Mumbai, and the largest city in the Western Ghats. Once the centre of power of the Maratha Empire, it is situated 560 metres above sea level on the Deccan plateau at the confluence of the Mula ...

 were added to UNESCO
UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

's "Memory of the World Register in 2007.

Of these 30 manuscripts, 9 contain the samhita text, 5 have the padapatha in addition. 13 contain Sayana's commentary. At least 5 manuscripts (MS. no. 1/A1879-80, 1/A1881-82, 331/1883-84 and 5/Viś I) have preserved the complete text of the Rigveda. MS no. 5/1875-76, written on birch bark in bold Sharada, was only in part used by Max Müller
Max Müller
Friedrich Max Müller , more regularly known as Max Müller, was a German philologist and Orientalist, one of the founders of the western academic field of Indian studies and the discipline of comparative religion...

 for his edition of the Rigveda with Sayana's commentary.

Müller used 24 manuscripts then available to him in Europe, while the Pune Edition used over five dozen manuscripts, but the editors of Pune Edition could not procure many manuscripts used by Müller and by the Bombay Edition, as well as from some other sources; hence the total number of extant manuscripts known then must surpass perhaps eighty at least

Contents



The Rigvedic hymns are dedicated to various deities, chief of whom are Indra
Indra
' or is the King of the demi-gods or Devas and Lord of Heaven or Svargaloka in Hindu mythology. He is also the God of War, Storms, and Rainfall.Indra is one of the chief deities in the Rigveda...

, a heroic god praised for having slain his enemy Vrtra; Agni
Agni
Agni is a Hindu deity, one of the most important of the Vedic gods. He is the god of fire and the acceptor of sacrifices. The sacrifices made to Agni go to the deities because Agni is a messenger from and to the other gods...

, the sacrificial fire; and Soma
Soma
Soma , or Haoma , from Proto-Indo-Iranian *sauma-, was a ritual drink of importance among the early Indo-Iranians, and the subsequent Vedic and greater Persian cultures. It is frequently mentioned in the Rigveda, whose Soma Mandala contains 114 hymns, many praising its energizing qualities...

, the sacred potion or the plant it is made from. Equally prominent gods are the Adityas
Ādityas
In Hinduism, Āditya , meaning "of or related to Aditi", refers to the offsprings of Aditi. Adityas are solar class deities. In later Hinduism, Aditya is used in the singular to mean the sun.-Vedas:...

 or Asura gods Mitra
Mitra (Vedic)
This article is about the Vedic deity Mitra. For other divinities with related names, see the general article Mitra.Mitra is an important divinity of Indic culture, and the patron divinity of honesty, friendship, contracts and meetings...

Varuna
Varuna
In Vedic religion, Varuna is a god of the sky, of water and of the celestial ocean, as well as a god of law and of the underworld...

 and Ushas
Ushas
Ushas , Sanskrit for "dawn", is a Vedic deity, and consequently a Hindu deity as well.Sanskrit is an s-stem, i.e. the genitive case is . It is from PIE , cognate to Greek Eos and Latin Aurora....

 (the dawn). Also invoked are Savitr
Savitr
Savitr IAST: savitrIn Vedic religion, Savitr , Savitā is a solar deity and one of the Adityas i.e. off-spring of Vedic deity Aditi. His name in Vedic Sanskrit connotes "impeller, rouser, vivifier"...

, Vishnu
Vishnu
Vishnu is the Supreme god in the Vaishnavite tradition of Hinduism. Smarta followers of Adi Shankara, among others, venerate Vishnu as one of the five primary forms of God....

, Rudra
Rudra
' is a Rigvedic God, associated with wind or storm, and the hunt. The name has been translated as "The Roarer", or "The Howler"....

, Pushan
Pushan
Pushan is a Vedic solar deity and one of the Adityas. He is the god of meeting. Pushan was responsible for marriages, journeys, roads, and the feeding of cattle. He was a psychopomp, conducting souls to the other world. He protected travelers from bandits and wild beasts, and protected men from...

, Brihaspati
Brihaspati
Bṛhaspati also known as Brahmanaspati and Deva-guru , is the name of a Vedic deity...

 or Brahmanaspati, as well as deified natural phenomena such as Dyaus Pita
Dyaus Pita
In the Vedic pantheon ' or ' or Dyaus Pitar is the Sky Father, divine consort of the Prithvi and father of Agni, Indra , and Ushas, the daughter representing dawn. In archaic Vedic lore, Dyauṣ Pitṛ and Prithivi Matṛ were one, single composite dvandva entity, named as the Dyavaprthivi...

 (the shining sky, Father Heaven ), Prithivi (the earth, Mother Earth), Surya
Surya
Surya Suraya or Phra Athit is the chief solar deity in Hinduism, one of the Adityas, son of Kasyapa and one of his wives, Aditi; of Indra; or of Dyaus Pitar . The term Surya also refers to the Sun, in general. Surya has hair and arms of gold...

 (the sun god), Vayu
Vayu
Vāyu is a primary Hindu deity, the Lord of the winds, the father of Bhima and the spiritual father of Lord Hanuman...

 or Vata (the wind), Apas
Ap (water)
Ap is the Vedic Sanskrit term for "water", in Classical Sanskrit occurring only in the plural, , whence Hindi . The term is from PIE hxap "water"....

 (the waters), Parjanya
Parjanya
Parjanya, according to the 1965 Sanskrit–English dictionary by Shri Vaman Shivram Apte gives the following meanings:* Rain-cloud, thunder cloud, a cloud in general* Rain...

 (the thunder and rain), Vac
VAC
VAC or Vac may refer to:In arts and entertainment* Velvet Acid Christ, an industrial band* Video Appeals Committee in the United Kingdom, responsible for hearing appeals against decisions by the British Board of Film Classification...

 (the word), many rivers
Rigvedic rivers
Rivers, such as the Sapta Sindhu , play a prominent part in the hymns of the Rigveda, and consequently in early Vedic religion...

 (notably the Sapta Sindhu, and the Sarasvati River
Sarasvati River
The Sarasvati River is one of the chief Rigvedic rivers mentioned in ancient Hindu texts. The Nadistuti hymn in the Rigveda mentions the Sarasvati between the Yamuna in the east and the Sutlej in the west, and later Vedic texts like Tandya and Jaiminiya Brahmanas as well as the Mahabharata...

). The Adityas
Ādityas
In Hinduism, Āditya , meaning "of or related to Aditi", refers to the offsprings of Aditi. Adityas are solar class deities. In later Hinduism, Aditya is used in the singular to mean the sun.-Vedas:...

, Vasus, Rudras, Sadhyas, Ashvins
Ashvins
The Ashvins , in Hindu mythology, are divine twin horsemen in the Rigveda, sons of Saranya , a goddess of the clouds and wife of Surya in his form as Vivasvat. The Ashvins are Vedic gods symbolising the shining of sunrise and sunset, appearing in the sky before the dawn in a golden chariot,...

, Maruts
Maruts
In Hinduism the Marutas , also known as the Marutagana and sometimes identified with Rudras, are storm deities and sons of Rudra and Diti and attendants of Indra. The number of Maruts varies from two to sixty . They are very violent and aggressive, described as armed with golden weapons i.e...

, Rbhus
Rbhus
The Ribhus are three semi-divine beings of the Rigveda and the Atharvaveda, Ribhu, Vaja and Vibhvan, collectively called by the name of their leader. In later Hindu mythology , Ribhu is a son of Brahma....

, and the Vishvadevas ("all-gods") as well as the "thirty-three gods" are the groups of deities mentioned.

The hymns mention various further minor gods, persons, phenomena and items, and contain fragmentary references to possible historical events, notably the struggle between the early Vedic people (known as Vedic Aryans, a subgroup of the Indo-Aryans
Indo-Aryans
Indo-Aryan is an ethno-linguistic term referring to the wide collection of peoples united as native speakers of the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-Iranian family of Indo-European languages...

) and their enemies, the Dasa
Dasa
Dasa is a term used with the primary meaning 'enemy', especially relating to tribes identified as the enemies of the Indo-Aryan tribes in the Rigveda....

 or Dasyu and their mythical prototypes, the Paṇi (the Bactrian Parna).

  • Mandala 1
    Mandala 1
    The first Mandala of the Rigveda has 191 hymns. Together with Mandala 10, it forms the latest part of the Rigveda, its composition likely dating to the Early Iron Age....

     comprises 191 hymns. Hymn 1.1 is addressed to Agni
    Agni
    Agni is a Hindu deity, one of the most important of the Vedic gods. He is the god of fire and the acceptor of sacrifices. The sacrifices made to Agni go to the deities because Agni is a messenger from and to the other gods...

    , and his name is the first word of the Rigveda. The remaining hymns are mainly addressed to Agni and Indra
    Indra
    ' or is the King of the demi-gods or Devas and Lord of Heaven or Svargaloka in Hindu mythology. He is also the God of War, Storms, and Rainfall.Indra is one of the chief deities in the Rigveda...

    , as well as Varuna, Mitra, the Ashvins, the Maruts, Usas, Surya, Rbhus, Rudra, Vayu, Brhaspati, Visnu, Heaven and Earth, and all the Gods.
  • Mandala 2
    Mandala 2
    The second Mandala of the Rigveda has 43 hymns, mainly to Agni and Indra chiefly attributed to the Rishi The second Mandala of the [[Rigveda]] has 43 hymns, mainly to [[Agni]] and [[Indra]] chiefly attributed to the Rishi ...

     comprises 43 hymns, mainly to Agni
    Agni
    Agni is a Hindu deity, one of the most important of the Vedic gods. He is the god of fire and the acceptor of sacrifices. The sacrifices made to Agni go to the deities because Agni is a messenger from and to the other gods...

     and Indra
    Indra
    ' or is the King of the demi-gods or Devas and Lord of Heaven or Svargaloka in Hindu mythology. He is also the God of War, Storms, and Rainfall.Indra is one of the chief deities in the Rigveda...

    . It is chiefly attributed to the Rishi .
  • Mandala 3
    Mandala 3
    The third Mandala of the Rigveda has 62 hymns, mainly to Agni and Indra. It is one of the "family books" , the oldest core of the Rigveda...

     comprises 62 hymns, mainly to Agni
    Agni
    Agni is a Hindu deity, one of the most important of the Vedic gods. He is the god of fire and the acceptor of sacrifices. The sacrifices made to Agni go to the deities because Agni is a messenger from and to the other gods...

     and Indra
    Indra
    ' or is the King of the demi-gods or Devas and Lord of Heaven or Svargaloka in Hindu mythology. He is also the God of War, Storms, and Rainfall.Indra is one of the chief deities in the Rigveda...

     and the Vishvedevas. The verse 3.62.10 has great importance in Hinduism
    Hinduism
    Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

     as the Gayatri Mantra
    Gayatri Mantra
    The Gāyatrī Mantra is a highly revered mantra, based on a Vedic Sanskrit verse from a hymn of the Rigveda , attributed to the rishi . The mantra is named for its vedic gāyatrī metre. As the verse can be interpreted to invoke the deva Savitr, it is often called Sāvitrī...

    . Most hymns in this book are attributed to .
  • Mandala 4
    Mandala 4
    The fourth Mandala of the Rigveda has 58 hymns, mainly to Agni and Indra. It is one of the "family books" , the oldest core of the Rigveda....

     comprises 58 hymns, mainly to Agni
    Agni
    Agni is a Hindu deity, one of the most important of the Vedic gods. He is the god of fire and the acceptor of sacrifices. The sacrifices made to Agni go to the deities because Agni is a messenger from and to the other gods...

     and Indra
    Indra
    ' or is the King of the demi-gods or Devas and Lord of Heaven or Svargaloka in Hindu mythology. He is also the God of War, Storms, and Rainfall.Indra is one of the chief deities in the Rigveda...

     as well as the Rbhus, Ashvins, Brhaspati, Vayu, Usas, etc. Most hymns in this book are attributed to .
  • Mandala 5
    Mandala 5
    The fifth Mandala of the Rigveda has 87 hymns. Most hymns in this book are attributed to the family. The mandala is one of the "family books" , the oldest core of the Rigveda....

     comprises 87 hymns, mainly to Agni
    Agni
    Agni is a Hindu deity, one of the most important of the Vedic gods. He is the god of fire and the acceptor of sacrifices. The sacrifices made to Agni go to the deities because Agni is a messenger from and to the other gods...

     and Indra
    Indra
    ' or is the King of the demi-gods or Devas and Lord of Heaven or Svargaloka in Hindu mythology. He is also the God of War, Storms, and Rainfall.Indra is one of the chief deities in the Rigveda...

    , the Visvedevas
    Visvedevas
    The Visvedevas are the various Vedic gods taken together as a whole. In the Rigveda a number of hymns are addressed to them, including 1.89,3.54-56,4.55,5.41-51,6.49-52,7.34-37, 39, 40, 42, 43,8.27-30, 58, 83...

     ("all the gods'), the Maruts
    Maruts
    In Hinduism the Marutas , also known as the Marutagana and sometimes identified with Rudras, are storm deities and sons of Rudra and Diti and attendants of Indra. The number of Maruts varies from two to sixty . They are very violent and aggressive, described as armed with golden weapons i.e...

    , the twin-deity Mitra-Varuna
    Mitra-Varuna
    Mitra and Varuna are two deities frequently referred to in the ancient Indian scripture of the Rigveda. They are both considered Adityas, or deities connected with the Sun; and they are protectors of the righteous order of rta...

     and the Asvins. Two hymns each are dedicated to Ushas
    Ushas
    Ushas , Sanskrit for "dawn", is a Vedic deity, and consequently a Hindu deity as well.Sanskrit is an s-stem, i.e. the genitive case is . It is from PIE , cognate to Greek Eos and Latin Aurora....

     (the dawn) and to Savitr
    Savitr
    Savitr IAST: savitrIn Vedic religion, Savitr , Savitā is a solar deity and one of the Adityas i.e. off-spring of Vedic deity Aditi. His name in Vedic Sanskrit connotes "impeller, rouser, vivifier"...

    . Most hymns in this book are attributed to the clan.
  • Mandala 6
    Mandala 6
    The sixth Mandala of the Rig Veda has 75 hymns, mainly to Agni and Indra. Most hymns in this book are attributed to the family of Angirasas, especially to Bharadvaja...

     comprises 75 hymns, mainly to Agni
    Agni
    Agni is a Hindu deity, one of the most important of the Vedic gods. He is the god of fire and the acceptor of sacrifices. The sacrifices made to Agni go to the deities because Agni is a messenger from and to the other gods...

     and Indra
    Indra
    ' or is the King of the demi-gods or Devas and Lord of Heaven or Svargaloka in Hindu mythology. He is also the God of War, Storms, and Rainfall.Indra is one of the chief deities in the Rigveda...

    , all the gods, Pusan, Ashvin, Usas, etc. Most hymns in this book are attributed to the family of Angirasas.
  • Mandala 7
    Mandala 7
    The seventh Mandala of the Rigveda has 104 hymns. In the Rigveda Anukramani, all hymns in this book are attributed to Vasishta...

     comprises 104 hymns, to Agni
    Agni
    Agni is a Hindu deity, one of the most important of the Vedic gods. He is the god of fire and the acceptor of sacrifices. The sacrifices made to Agni go to the deities because Agni is a messenger from and to the other gods...

    , Indra
    Indra
    ' or is the King of the demi-gods or Devas and Lord of Heaven or Svargaloka in Hindu mythology. He is also the God of War, Storms, and Rainfall.Indra is one of the chief deities in the Rigveda...

    , the Visvadevas, the Maruts
    Maruts
    In Hinduism the Marutas , also known as the Marutagana and sometimes identified with Rudras, are storm deities and sons of Rudra and Diti and attendants of Indra. The number of Maruts varies from two to sixty . They are very violent and aggressive, described as armed with golden weapons i.e...

    , Mitra-Varuna
    Mitra-Varuna
    Mitra and Varuna are two deities frequently referred to in the ancient Indian scripture of the Rigveda. They are both considered Adityas, or deities connected with the Sun; and they are protectors of the righteous order of rta...

    , the Asvins, Ushas
    Ushas
    Ushas , Sanskrit for "dawn", is a Vedic deity, and consequently a Hindu deity as well.Sanskrit is an s-stem, i.e. the genitive case is . It is from PIE , cognate to Greek Eos and Latin Aurora....

    , Indra-Varuna, Varuna
    Varuna
    In Vedic religion, Varuna is a god of the sky, of water and of the celestial ocean, as well as a god of law and of the underworld...

    , Vayu
    Vayu
    Vāyu is a primary Hindu deity, the Lord of the winds, the father of Bhima and the spiritual father of Lord Hanuman...

     (the wind), two each to Sarasvati (ancient river/goddess of learning) and Vishnu
    Vishnu
    Vishnu is the Supreme god in the Vaishnavite tradition of Hinduism. Smarta followers of Adi Shankara, among others, venerate Vishnu as one of the five primary forms of God....

    , and to others. Most hymns in this book are attributed to .
  • Mandala 8
    Mandala 8
    The eighth Mandala of the Rigveda has 103 hymns. Other than the "family books" and RV 1 and RV 10 , Mandala 8 cannot straightforwardly be dated as a whole relative to the other books, and its hymns may include both ancient and late...

     comprises 103 hymns to various gods. Hymns 8.49 to 8.59 are the apocryphal . Hymns 1–48 and 60–66 are attributed to the clan, the rest to other (Angirasa) poets.
  • Mandala 9
    Mandala 9
    The ninth Mandala of the Rigveda, also called the Soma Mandala, has 114 hymns, entirely devoted to , "Purifying Soma", the sacred potion of the Vedic religion....

     comprises 114 hymns, entirely devoted to Soma
    Soma
    Soma , or Haoma , from Proto-Indo-Iranian *sauma-, was a ritual drink of importance among the early Indo-Iranians, and the subsequent Vedic and greater Persian cultures. It is frequently mentioned in the Rigveda, whose Soma Mandala contains 114 hymns, many praising its energizing qualities...

     Pavamana
    , the cleansing of the sacred potion of the Vedic religion.
  • Mandala 10
    Mandala 10
    The tenth Mandala of the Rigveda has 191 hymns. Together with Mandala 1, it forms the latest part of the Rigveda, containing much mythological material, including the Purusha sukta and the dialogue of Sarama with the Panis , and notably containing several dialogue hymns...

     comprises additional 191 hymns, frequently in later language, addressed to Agni
    Agni
    Agni is a Hindu deity, one of the most important of the Vedic gods. He is the god of fire and the acceptor of sacrifices. The sacrifices made to Agni go to the deities because Agni is a messenger from and to the other gods...

    , Indra
    Indra
    ' or is the King of the demi-gods or Devas and Lord of Heaven or Svargaloka in Hindu mythology. He is also the God of War, Storms, and Rainfall.Indra is one of the chief deities in the Rigveda...

     and various other deities. It contains the Nadistuti sukta
    Nadistuti sukta
    The Nadistuti sukta ,"hymn of praise of rivers", is hymn 10.75 of the Rigveda.It is important for the reconstruction of the geography of the Vedic civilization...

     which is in praise of rivers and is important for the reconstruction of the geography of the Vedic civilization and the Purusha sukta
    Purusha sukta
    Purusha sukta is hymn 10.90 of the Rigveda, dedicated to the Purusha, the "Cosmic Being". One version of the Suktam has 16 verses, 15 in the meter, and the final one in the meter...

     which has great significance in Hindu social tradition. It also contains the Nasadiya sukta
    Nasadiya Sukta
    The Nasadiya Sukta is the 129th hymn of the 10th Mandala of the Rigveda. It is concerned with cosmology and the origin of the universe. It is known for its skepticism...

     (10.129), probably the most celebrated hymn in the west, which deals with creation. The marriage hymns (10.85) and the death hymns (10.10–18) still are of great importance in the performance of the corresponding Grhya rituals.

Dating and historical context


The Rigveda's core is accepted to date to the late Bronze Age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

, making it one of the few examples with an unbroken tradition. Its composition is usually dated to roughly between 1700–1100 BC. The Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture
Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture
The Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture is an encyclopedia of Indo-European studies and the Proto-Indo-Europeans. The encyclopedia was edited by J. P. Mallory and Douglas Q. Adams and published in 1997 by Fitzroy Dearborn...

 (s.v. Indo-Iranian languages
Indo-Iranian languages
The Indo-Iranian language group constitutes the easternmost extant branch of the Indo-European family of languages. It consists of three language groups: the Indo-Aryan, Iranian and Nuristani...

, p. 306) gives 1500–1000.
Being composed in an early Indo-Aryan language, the hymns must post-date the Indo-Iranian separation, dated to roughly 2000 BC. A reasonable date close to that of the composition of the core of the Rigveda is that of the Indo-Aryan Mitanni documents of c. 1400 BC. Other evidence also points to a composition close to 1400 BC

The Rigveda is far more archaic than any other Indo-Aryan text. For this reason, it was in the center of attention of western scholarship from the times of Max Müller
Max Müller
Friedrich Max Müller , more regularly known as Max Müller, was a German philologist and Orientalist, one of the founders of the western academic field of Indian studies and the discipline of comparative religion...

 and Rudolf Roth
Rudolf Roth
Rudolf von Roth was a German Indologist, founder of the Vedic philology. His chief work is a monumental Sanskrit dictionary, compiled in collaboration with Otto von Böhtlingk.-Biography:He was educated at the universities of Tübingen and Berlin...

 onwards. The Rigveda records an early stage of Vedic religion
Historical Vedic religion
The religion of the Vedic period is a historical predecessor of Hinduism. Its liturgy is reflected in the mantra portion of the four Vedas, which are compiled in Sanskrit. The religious practices centered on a clergy administering rites...

. There are strong linguistic and cultural similarities with the early Iranian Avesta
Avesta
The Avesta is the primary collection of sacred texts of Zoroastrianism, composed in the Avestan language.-Early transmission:The texts of the Avesta — which are all in the Avestan language — were composed over the course of several hundred years. The most important portion, the Gathas,...

, deriving from the Proto-Indo-Iranian
Proto-Indo-Iranian language
Proto-Indo-Iranian is the reconstructed proto-language of the Indo-Iranian branch of Indo-European. Its speakers, the hypothetical Proto-Indo-Iranians, are assumed to have lived in the late 3rd millennium BC, and are usually connected with the early Andronovo archaeological...

 times, often associated with the early Andronovo culture
Andronovo culture
The Andronovo culture, is a collection of similar local Bronze Age cultures that flourished ca. 21200–1400 BCE in western Siberia and the west Asiatic steppe. It is probably better termed an archaeological complex or archaeological horizon...

 of ca. 2000 BC.

The text in the following centuries underwent pronunciation revisions and standardization (samhitapatha, padapatha). This redaction would have been completed around the 6th century BC. Exact dates are not established, but they fall within the pre-Buddhist period (500, or rather 400 BC).

Writing appears in India around the 3rd century BC in the form of the Brahmi
Brāhmī script
Brāhmī is the modern name given to the oldest members of the Brahmic family of scripts. The best-known Brāhmī inscriptions are the rock-cut edicts of Ashoka in north-central India, dated to the 3rd century BCE. These are traditionally considered to be early known examples of Brāhmī writing...

 script, but texts of the length of the Rigveda were likely not written down until much later, the oldest surviving Rigvedic manuscript dating to the 14th century. While written manuscripts were used for teaching in medieval times, they were written on birch bark or palm leaves, which decompose fairly quickly in the tropical climate, until the advent of the printing press
Printing press
A printing press is a device for applying pressure to an inked surface resting upon a print medium , thereby transferring the ink...

 from the 16th century. Some Rigveda commentaries may date from the second half of the first millennium CE. The hymns were thus preserved by oral tradition
Oral tradition
Oral tradition and oral lore is cultural material and traditions transmitted orally from one generation to another. The messages or testimony are verbally transmitted in speech or song and may take the form, for example, of folktales, sayings, ballads, songs, or chants...

 for up to a millennium from the time of their composition until the redaction of the Rigveda, and the entire Rigveda was preserved in shakha
Shakha
A shakha , is a Hindu theological school that specializes in learning certain Vedic texts, or else the traditional texts followed by such a school. An individual follower of a particular school or recension is called a ...

s for another 2,500 years from the time of its redaction until the editio princeps by Rosen, Aufrecht and Max Müller.

After their composition, the texts were preserved and codified by an extensive body of Vedic priesthood
Vedic priesthood
Priests of the Vedic religion were officiants of the yajna service. As persons trained for the ritual and proficient in its practice, they were called '...

 as the central philosophy of the Iron Age Vedic civilization. The Brahma Purana
Brahma Purana
The Brahma Purana is one of the major eighteen Mahapuranas, a genre of Hindu religious texts. The extant text comprises 246 chapters. It is divided into two parts, namely the Purvabhaga and the Uttarabhaga . The first part narrates the story behind the creation of the cosmos, details the life and...

 and the Vayu Purana
Vayu Purana
The Vayu Purana is a Shaiva Purana, a Hindu religious text, dedicated to the god Vayu , containing about 24,000 shlokas.-Date:Banabhatta refers to this work in his Kadambari and Harshacharita...

 name one Vidagdha as the author of the Padapatha. The Rk-pratishakhya names Sthavira Shakalya of the Aitareya Aranyaka as its author.

The Rigveda describes a mobile, semi-nomad
Nomad
Nomadic people , commonly known as itinerants in modern-day contexts, are communities of people who move from one place to another, rather than settling permanently in one location. There are an estimated 30-40 million nomads in the world. Many cultures have traditionally been nomadic, but...

ic culture, with horse-drawn chariot
Chariot
The chariot is a type of horse carriage used in both peace and war as the chief vehicle of many ancient peoples. Ox carts, proto-chariots, were built by the Proto-Indo-Europeans and also built in Mesopotamia as early as 3000 BC. The original horse chariot was a fast, light, open, two wheeled...

s, oxen-drawn wagons, and metal (bronze) weapons. The geography described is consistent with that of the Greater Punjab
Punjab region
The Punjab , also spelled Panjab |water]]s"), is a geographical region straddling the border between Pakistan and India which includes Punjab province in Pakistan and the states of the Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh and some northern parts of the National Capital Territory of Delhi...

: Rivers
Rigvedic rivers
Rivers, such as the Sapta Sindhu , play a prominent part in the hymns of the Rigveda, and consequently in early Vedic religion...

 flow north to south, the mountains are relatively remote but still visible and reachable (Soma
Soma
Soma , or Haoma , from Proto-Indo-Iranian *sauma-, was a ritual drink of importance among the early Indo-Iranians, and the subsequent Vedic and greater Persian cultures. It is frequently mentioned in the Rigveda, whose Soma Mandala contains 114 hymns, many praising its energizing qualities...

 is a plant found in the high mountains, and it has to be purchased from tribal people). Nevertheless, the hymns were certainly composed over a long period, with the oldest (not preserved) elements possibly reaching back to times close to the split of Proto-Indo-Iranian (around 2000 BC) Thus there was some debate over whether the boasts of the destruction of stone forts by the Vedic Aryans and particularly by Indra refer to cities of the Indus Valley civilization
Indus Valley Civilization
The Indus Valley Civilization was a Bronze Age civilization that was located in the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent, consisting of what is now mainly modern-day Pakistan and northwest India...

 or whether they rather hark back to clashes between the early Indo-Aryans
Indo-Aryans
Indo-Aryan is an ethno-linguistic term referring to the wide collection of peoples united as native speakers of the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-Iranian family of Indo-European languages...

 with the BMAC in what is now northern Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 and southern Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan , formerly also known as Turkmenia is one of the Turkic states in Central Asia. Until 1991, it was a constituent republic of the Soviet Union, the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic . Turkmenistan is one of the six independent Turkic states...

 (separated from the upper Indus
Indus River
The Indus River is a major river which flows through Pakistan. It also has courses through China and India.Originating in the Tibetan plateau of western China in the vicinity of Lake Mansarovar in Tibet Autonomous Region, the river runs a course through the Ladakh district of Jammu and Kashmir and...

 by the Hindu Kush
Hindu Kush
The Hindu Kush is an mountain range that stretches between central Afghanistan and northern Pakistan. The highest point in the Hindu Kush is Tirich Mir in the Chitral region of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan.It is the westernmost extension of the Pamir Mountains, the Karakoram Range, and is a...

 mountain range, and some 400 km distant).

While it is highly likely that the bulk of the Rigvedic hymns were composed in the Punjab, even if based on earlier poetic traditions, there is no mention of either tiger
Tiger
The tiger is the largest cat species, reaching a total body length of up to and weighing up to . Their most recognizable feature is a pattern of dark vertical stripes on reddish-orange fur with lighter underparts...

s or rice
Rice
Rice is the seed of the monocot plants Oryza sativa or Oryza glaberrima . As a cereal grain, it is the most important staple food for a large part of the world's human population, especially in East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and the West Indies...

 in the Rigveda (as opposed to the later Vedas), suggesting that Vedic culture only penetrated into the plains of India after its completion. Similarly, there is no mention of iron
Iron
Iron is a chemical element with the symbol Fe and atomic number 26. It is a metal in the first transition series. It is the most common element forming the planet Earth as a whole, forming much of Earth's outer and inner core. It is the fourth most common element in the Earth's crust...

 as the term ayas occurring in the Rig Veda refers to useful metal in general. The "black metal" is first mentioned in the post-Rigvedic texts (Atharvaveda etc.). The Iron Age in northern India begins in the 10th century in the Greater Panjab. There is a widely accepted timeframe for the beginning codification of the Rigveda by compiling the hymns very late in the Rigvedic or rather in the early post-Rigvedic period, including the arrangement of the individual hymns in ten books, coeval with and the composition of the younger Veda Samhitas. This time coincides with the early Kuru kingdom, shifting the center of Vedic culture east from the Punjab into what is now Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh abbreviation U.P. , is a state located in the northern part of India. With a population of over 200 million people, it is India's most populous state, as well as the world's most populous sub-national entity...

. The fixing of the samhitapatha (by keeping Sandhi
Sandhi
Sandhi is a cover term for a wide variety of phonological processes that occur at morpheme or word boundaries . Examples include the fusion of sounds across word boundaries and the alteration of sounds due to neighboring sounds or due to the grammatical function of adjacent words...

) intact and of the padapatha (by dissolving Sandhi out of the earlier metrical text), occurred during the later Brahmana period.

Some of the names of gods and goddesses
Rigvedic deities
There are 1028 hymns in the Rigveda, most of them dedicated to specific deities.Indra, a heroic god, slayer of Vrtra and destroyer of the Vala, liberator of the cows and the rivers; Agni the sacrificial fire and messenger of the gods; and Soma the ritual drink dedicated to Indra are the most...

 found in the Rigveda are found amongst other belief systems based on Proto-Indo-European religion
Proto-Indo-European religion
Proto-Indo-European religion is the hypothesized religion of the Proto-Indo-European peoples based on the existence of similarities among the deities, religious practices and mythologies of the Indo-European peoples. Reconstruction of the hypotheses below is based on linguistic evidence using the...

, while words used share common roots
Proto-Indo-European root
The roots of the reconstructed Proto-Indo-European language are basic parts of words that carry a lexical meaning, so-called morphemes. PIE roots always have verbal meaning like "to eat" or "to run", as opposed to nouns , adjectives , or other parts of speech. Roots never occur alone in the language...

 with words from other Indo-European languages
Indo-European languages
The Indo-European languages are a family of several hundred related languages and dialects, including most major current languages of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and South Asia and also historically predominant in Anatolia...

.

The horse
Horse
The horse is one of two extant subspecies of Equus ferus, or the wild horse. It is a single-hooved mammal belonging to the taxonomic family Equidae. The horse has evolved over the past 45 to 55 million years from a small multi-toed creature into the large, single-toed animal of today...

 (ashva
Ashva
Aśvaḥ is the Sanskrit word for a "horse", one of the significant animals finding references in the Vedas as well as later Hindu scriptures. The corresponding Avestan term is aspa...

), cattle
Cattle
Cattle are the most common type of large domesticated ungulates. They are a prominent modern member of the subfamily Bovinae, are the most widespread species of the genus Bos, and are most commonly classified collectively as Bos primigenius...

, sheep and goat play an important role in the Rigveda. There are also references to the elephant
Elephant
Elephants are large land mammals in two extant genera of the family Elephantidae: Elephas and Loxodonta, with the third genus Mammuthus extinct...

 (Hastin
Hastin
Hastin is a term for elephant used in Vedic texts. Other terms for elephant include ibha and varana.- The elephant in the Rigveda :In Rig Veda 1.84.17 and 4.4.1. and probably other instances the Rig Veda seems to refer to elephants , an animal that is native to South Asia...

, Varana), camel
Camel
A camel is an even-toed ungulate within the genus Camelus, bearing distinctive fatty deposits known as humps on its back. There are two species of camels: the dromedary or Arabian camel has a single hump, and the bactrian has two humps. Dromedaries are native to the dry desert areas of West Asia,...

 (Ustra, especially in Mandala 8
Mandala 8
The eighth Mandala of the Rigveda has 103 hymns. Other than the "family books" and RV 1 and RV 10 , Mandala 8 cannot straightforwardly be dated as a whole relative to the other books, and its hymns may include both ancient and late...

), ass (khara, rasabha), buffalo (Mahisa), wolf, hyena
Hyena
Hyenas or Hyaenas are the animals of the family Hyaenidae of suborder feliforms of the Carnivora. It is the fourth smallest biological family in the Carnivora , and one of the smallest in the mammalia...

, lion
Lion
The lion is one of the four big cats in the genus Panthera, and a member of the family Felidae. With some males exceeding 250 kg in weight, it is the second-largest living cat after the tiger...

 (Simha), mountain goat (sarabha) and to the gaur
Gaur
The gaur , also called Indian bison, is a large bovine native to South Asia and Southeast Asia. The species is listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List since 1986 as the population decline in parts of the species' range is likely to be well over 70% over the last three generations...

 in the Rigveda. The peafowl
Peafowl
Peafowl are two Asiatic species of flying birds in the genus Pavo of the pheasant family, Phasianidae, best known for the male's extravagant eye-spotted tail, which it displays as part of courtship. The male is called a peacock, the female a peahen, and the offspring peachicks. The adult female...

 (mayura), the goose (hamsa) and the chakravaka (Anas casarca) are some birds mentioned in the Rigveda.

Rigveda Brahmanas



Of the Brahmanas that were handed down in the schools of the (i.e. "possessed of many verses"), as the followers of the Rigveda are called, two have come down to us, namely those of the Aitareyins and the Kaushitakins. The Aitareya-brahmana and the Kaushitaki- (or Sankhayana-) brahmana evidently have for their groundwork the same stock of traditional exegetic matter. They differ, however, considerably as regards both the arrangement of this matter and their stylistic handling of it, with the exception of the numerous legends common to both, in which the discrepancy is comparatively slight. There is also a certain amount of material peculiar to each of them.

The Kaushitaka is, upon the whole, far more concise in its style and more systematic in its arrangement features which would lead one to infer that it is probably the more modern work of the two. It consists of thirty chapters (adhyaya); while the Aitareya has forty, divided into eight books (or pentads, pancaka), of five chapters each. The last ten adhyayas of the latter work are, however, clearly a later addition though they must have already formed part of it at the time of Pāṇini (ca. 5th c. BC), if, as seems probable, one of his grammatical sutras, regulating the formation of the names of Brahmanas, consisting of thirty and forty adhyayas, refers to these two works. In this last portion occurs the well-known legend (also found in the Shankhayana-sutra, but not in the Kaushitaki-brahmana) of Shunahshepa, whom his father Ajigarta sells and offers to slay, the recital of which formed part of the inauguration of kings.

While the Aitareya deals almost exclusively with the Soma sacrifice, the Kaushitaka, in its first six chapters, treats of the several kinds of haviryajna, or offerings of rice, milk, ghee, &c., whereupon follows the Soma sacrifice in this way, that chapters 7–10 contain the practical ceremonial and 11–30 the recitations (shastra) of the hotar. Sayana, in the introduction to his commentary on the work, ascribes the Aitareya to the sage Mahidasa Aitareya (i.e. son of Itara), also mentioned elsewhere as a philosopher; and it seems likely enough that this person arranged the Brahmana and founded the school of the Aitareyins. Regarding the authorship of the sister work we have no information, except that the opinion of the sage Kaushitaki is frequently referred to in it as authoritative, and generally in opposition to the Paingya—the Brahmana, it would seem, of a rival school, the Paingins. Probably, therefore, it is just what one of the manuscripts calls it—the Brahmana of Sankhayana (composed) in accordance with the views of Kaushitaki.

Rigveda Aranyakas



Each of these two Brahmanas is supplemented by a "forest book", or Aranyaka
Aranyaka
The Aranyakas are part of the Hindu śruti, the four Vedas; they were composed in late Vedic Sanskrit typical of the Brahmanas and early Upanishads; indeed, they frequently form part of either the Brahmanas or the Upanishads....

. The Aitareyaranyaka is not a uniform production. It consists of five books (aranyaka), three of which, the first and the last two, are of a liturgical nature, treating of the ceremony called mahavrata, or great vow. The last of these books, composed in sutra form, is, however, doubtless of later origin, and is, indeed, ascribed by Hindu authorities either to Shaunaka or to Ashvalayana. The second and third books, on the other hand, are purely speculative, and are also styled the Bahvrca-brahmana-upanishad. Again, the last four chapters of the second book are usually singled out as the Aitareyopanishad, ascribed, like its Brahmana (and the first book), to Mahidasa Aitareya; and the third book is also referred to as the Samhita-upanishad. As regards the Kaushitaki-aranyaka, this work consists of 15 adhyayas, the first two (treating of the mahavrata ceremony) and the 7th and 8th of which correspond to the 1st, 5th, and 3rd books of the Aitareyaranyaka, respectively, whilst the four adhyayas usually inserted between them constitute the highly interesting Kaushitaki (brahmana-) upanishad, of which we possess two different recensions. The remaining portions (9–15) of the Aranyaka treat of the vital airs, the internal Agnihotra, etc., ending with the vamsha, or succession of teachers.

Medieval Hindu scholarship


According to Hindu tradition, the Rigvedic hymns were collected by Paila
Paila
A paila is an earthenware bowl used as a plate in several South American countries. Dishes served in a paila are often prepared in it inside an oven. By extension the word paila is also used for the dishes eaten in it such as Paila marina and Paila de huevo...

 under the guidance of
{{About|the collection of Vedic hymns|the manga series|RG Veda}}
{{pp-semi|small=yes}}
{{Hindu scriptures}}
The Rigveda (
Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

: {{lang|sa|ऋग्वेद}} {{IAST|ṛgveda}}, a compound of {{IAST|ṛc}} "praise, verse" and {{IAST|veda}} "knowledge") is an ancient Indian
Indian subcontinent
The Indian subcontinent, also Indian Subcontinent, Indo-Pak Subcontinent or South Asian Subcontinent is a region of the Asian continent on the Indian tectonic plate from the Hindu Kush or Hindu Koh, Himalayas and including the Kuen Lun and Karakoram ranges, forming a land mass which extends...

 sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit
Vedic Sanskrit
Vedic Sanskrit is an old Indo-Aryan language. It is an archaic form of Sanskrit, an early descendant of Proto-Indo-Iranian. It is closely related to Avestan, the oldest preserved Iranian language...

 hymns. It is counted among the four canonical sacred texts (śruti
Sruti
' , often spelled shruti or shruthi, is a term that describes the sacred texts comprising the central canon of Hinduism and is one of the three main sources of dharma and therefore is also influential within Hindu Law...

) of Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

 known as the Vedas
Vedas
The Vedas are a large body of texts originating in ancient India. Composed in Vedic Sanskrit, the texts constitute the oldest layer of Sanskrit literature and the oldest scriptures of Hinduism....

.
Some of its verses are still recited as Hindu prayers, at religious functions and other occasions, putting these among the world's oldest religious text
Religious text
Religious texts, also known as scripture, scriptures, holy writ, or holy books, are the texts which various religious traditions consider to be sacred, or of central importance to their religious tradition...

s in continued use. The Rigveda contains several mythological and poetical accounts of the origin of the world, hymns praising the gods, and ancient prayers for life, prosperity, etc.

It is one of the oldest extant texts in any Indo-European language. Philological
Philology
Philology is the study of language in written historical sources; it is a combination of literary studies, history and linguistics.Classical philology is the philology of Greek and Classical Latin...

 and linguistic
Historical linguistics
Historical linguistics is the study of language change. It has five main concerns:* to describe and account for observed changes in particular languages...

 evidence indicate that the Rigveda was composed in the north-western region of the Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
The Indian subcontinent, also Indian Subcontinent, Indo-Pak Subcontinent or South Asian Subcontinent is a region of the Asian continent on the Indian tectonic plate from the Hindu Kush or Hindu Koh, Himalayas and including the Kuen Lun and Karakoram ranges, forming a land mass which extends...

, roughly between 1700–1100 BC (the early Vedic period
Vedic period
The Vedic period was a period in history during which the Vedas, the oldest scriptures of Hinduism, were composed. The time span of the period is uncertain. Philological and linguistic evidence indicates that the Rigveda, the oldest of the Vedas, was composed roughly between 1700–1100 BCE, also...

).

Text


The surviving form of the Rigveda is based on an early Iron Age
Iron Age India
Iron Age India, the Iron Age in the Indian subcontinent, succeeds the Late Harappan culture, also known as the last phase of the Indus Valley Tradition...

 (c. 10th c. BC) collection that established the core 'family books' (mandalas 2–7, ordered by author, deity and meter ) and a later redaction, co-eval with the redaction of the other Vedas, dating several centuries after the hymns were composed. This redaction also included some additions (contradicting the strict ordering scheme) and orthoepic changes to the Vedic Sanskrit
Vedic Sanskrit
Vedic Sanskrit is an old Indo-Aryan language. It is an archaic form of Sanskrit, an early descendant of Proto-Indo-Iranian. It is closely related to Avestan, the oldest preserved Iranian language...

 such as the regularization
Regularization (linguistics)
In linguistics, regularization is a phenomenon in language acquisition and language development, whereby irregular forms in morphology, syntax, etc., are replaced by regular ones. Examples are "gooses" instead of "geese" in child speech and replacement of the Middle English plural form for "cow",...

 of sandhi
Sandhi
Sandhi is a cover term for a wide variety of phonological processes that occur at morpheme or word boundaries . Examples include the fusion of sounds across word boundaries and the alteration of sounds due to neighboring sounds or due to the grammatical function of adjacent words...

 (termed orthoepische Diaskeuase by Oldenberg, 1888).

As with the other Vedas, the redacted text has been handed down in several versions, most importantly the Padapatha that has each word isolated in pausa
Pausa
In linguistics, pausa is the end of a prosodic unit, such as an utterance. Some sound laws specifically operate in pausa only; for example, certain phonemes may be pronounced differently at the end of a word, when no other word follows within the same prosodic unit, such as in citation form...

 form and is used for just one way of memorization; and the Samhitapatha that combines words according to the rules of sandhi (the process being described in the Pratisakhya
Pratisakhya
Pratisakhyas, collectively constituting four treatises, are works dealing with the phonetic aspects of the Sanskrit language used in Vedas. These works mainly pertain to euphonic permutation and combination of letters and special characteristics of their pronunciation as they prevailed in various...

) and is the memorized text used for recitation.

The Padapatha and the Pratisakhya anchor the text's fidelity and meaning and the fixed text was preserved with unparalleled fidelity for more than a millennium by oral tradition
Oral tradition
Oral tradition and oral lore is cultural material and traditions transmitted orally from one generation to another. The messages or testimony are verbally transmitted in speech or song and may take the form, for example, of folktales, sayings, ballads, songs, or chants...

 alone. In order to achieve this the oral tradition prescribed very structured enunciation, involving breaking down the Sanskrit compounds into stem
Word stem
In linguistics, a stem is a part of a word. The term is used with slightly different meanings.In one usage, a stem is a form to which affixes can be attached. Thus, in this usage, the English word friendships contains the stem friend, to which the derivational suffix -ship is attached to form a new...

s and inflections, as well as certain permutations. This interplay with sounds gave rise to a scholarly tradition of morphology
Morphology (linguistics)
In linguistics, morphology is the identification, analysis and description, in a language, of the structure of morphemes and other linguistic units, such as words, affixes, parts of speech, intonation/stress, or implied context...

 and phonetics
Phonetics
Phonetics is a branch of linguistics that comprises the study of the sounds of human speech, or—in the case of sign languages—the equivalent aspects of sign. It is concerned with the physical properties of speech sounds or signs : their physiological production, acoustic properties, auditory...

. The Rigveda was probably not written down until the Gupta period (4th to 6th century AD), by which time the Brahmi script
Brāhmī script
Brāhmī is the modern name given to the oldest members of the Brahmic family of scripts. The best-known Brāhmī inscriptions are the rock-cut edicts of Ashoka in north-central India, dated to the 3rd century BCE. These are traditionally considered to be early known examples of Brāhmī writing...

 had become widespread (the oldest surviving manuscripts date to the Late Middle Ages). The oral tradition still continued into recent times.

The original text (as authored by the Rishi
Rishi
Rishi denotes the composers of Vedic hymns. However, according to post-Vedic tradition, the rishi is a "seer" to whom the Vedas were "originally revealed" through states of higher consciousness. The rishis were prominent when Vedic Hinduism took shape, as far back as some three thousand years...

s) is close to but not identical to the extant Samhitapatha, but metrical and other observations allow to reconstruct (in part at least) the original text from the extant one, as printed in the Harvard Oriental Series, vol. 50 (1994).

Organization


The text is organized in 10 books, known as Mandalas, of varying age and length. The "family books": mandalas 2–7, are the oldest part of the Rigveda and the shortest books; they are arranged by length and account for 38% of the text. The eighth and ninth mandalas, comprising hymns of mixed age, account for 15% and 9%, respectively. The first and the tenth mandalas are the youngest; they are also the longest books, of 191 suktas each, accounting for 37% of the text.

Each mandala consists of hymns called {{IAST|sūkta}} ({{IAST|su-ukta
Ukta
Ukta is a village in the administrative district of Gmina Ruciane-Nida, within Pisz County, Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship, in northern Poland. It lies approximately north-west of Ruciane-Nida, west of Pisz, and east of the regional capital Olsztyn....

}}
, literally, "well recited, eulogy") intended for various sacrificial ritual
Yajna
In Hinduism, yajna is a ritual of sacrifice derived from the practice of Vedic times. It is performed to please the gods or to attain certain wishes...

s. The {{IAST|sūkta}}s in turn consist of individual stanzas called {{IAST|ṛc}} ("praise", pl. {{IAST|ṛcas}}), which are further analysed into units of verse called {{IAST|pada
Pada
Pada may refer to:*Pada , in Sanskrit grammar, and Hindu and Buddhist tradition*Sri Pada or Adam's Peak, a mountain in Sri Lanka*Pada, Estonia, village in Viru-Nigula Parish, Lääne-Viru County, Estonia*Pada River, see List of rivers of Estonia...

}}
("foot"). The meters
Vedic meter
The verses of the Vedas have a variety of different meters. They are divided by number of padas in a verse, and by the number of syllables in a pada. Chandas , the study of Vedic meter, is one of the six Vedanga disciplines, or "organs of the vedas".*: 3 padas of 8 syllables-Principles:The main...

 most used in the {{IAST|ṛcas}} are the jagati (a pada consists of 12 syllables), trishtubh (11), viraj (10), gayatri
Gayatri
Gayatri is the feminine form of , a Sanskrit word for a song or a hymn. Gayatri is a consort of Brahma and the goddess of learning. Brahma married her when there was a need for a companion during a yajna. Brahma had to start the yajna along with his wife...

 and anushtubh (8).

For pedagogical convenience, each mandala is synthetically divided into roughly equal sections of several sūktas, called {{IAST|anuvāka}} ("recitation"), which modern publishers often omit. Another scheme divides the entire text over the 10 mandalas into {{IAST|aṣṭaka}} ("eighth"), {{IAST|adhyāya}} ("chapter") and {{IAST|varga}} ("class"). Some publishers give both classifications in a single edition.

The most common numbering scheme is by book, hymn and stanza (and pada a, b, c ..., if required). E.g., the first pada is
  • 1.1.1a {{IAST|agním īḷe puróhitaṃ}} "Agni I invoke, the housepriest"

and the final pada is
  • 10.191.4d {{IAST|yáthā vaḥ súsahā́sati}}

Recensions


The major Rigvedic shakha
Shakha
A shakha , is a Hindu theological school that specializes in learning certain Vedic texts, or else the traditional texts followed by such a school. An individual follower of a particular school or recension is called a ...

 ("branch", i. e. recension) that has survived is that of {{IAST|Śākalya}}. Another shakha that may have survived is the {{IAST|Bāṣkala}}, although this is uncertain. The surviving padapatha version of the Rigveda text is ascribed to Śākalya. The {{IAST|Śākala}} recension has 1,017 regular hymns, and an appendix of 11 {{IAST|vālakhilya}} hymns which are now customarily included in the 8th mandala (as 8.49–8.59), for a total of 1028 hymns. The {{IAST|Bāṣkala}} recension includes 8 of these {{IAST|vālakhilya}} hymns among its regular hymns, making a total of 1025 regular hymns for this śākhā. In addition, the {{IAST|Bāṣkala}} recension has its own appendix of 98 hymns, the Khilani
Khilani
The Khilani are a collection of 98 "apocryphal" hymns of the Rigveda, recorded in the , but not in the shakha. They are late additions to the text of the Rigveda, but still belong to the "Mantra" period of Vedic Sanskrit.-Literature:...

.

In the 1877 edition of Aufrecht, the 1028 hymns of the Rigveda contain a total of 10,552 {{IAST|ṛcs}}, or 39,831 padas. The Shatapatha Brahmana
Shatapatha Brahmana
The Shatapatha Brahmana is one of the prose texts describing the Vedic ritual, associated with the Shukla Yajurveda. It survives in two recensions, Madhyandina and Kanva , with the former having the eponymous 100 adhyayas,7624 kandikas in 14 books, and the latter 104 adhyayas,6806 kandikas in 17...

 gives the number of syllables to be 432,000, while the metrical text of van Nooten and Holland (1994) has a total of 395,563 syllables (or an average of 9.93 syllables per pada); counting the number of syllables is not straightforward because of issues with sandhi and the post-Rigvedic pronunciation of syllables like súvar as svàr.

Rishis


{{See also|Anukramani}}

Tradition associates a rishi
Rishi
Rishi denotes the composers of Vedic hymns. However, according to post-Vedic tradition, the rishi is a "seer" to whom the Vedas were "originally revealed" through states of higher consciousness. The rishis were prominent when Vedic Hinduism took shape, as far back as some three thousand years...

 (the composer) with each {{IAST|ṛc}} of the Rigveda. Most sūktas are attributed to single composers. The "family books" (2–7) are so-called because they have hymns by members of the same clan in each book; but other clans are also represented in the Rigveda. In all, 10 families of rishis account for more than 95% of the {{IAST|ṛcs}}; for each of them the Rigveda includes a lineage-specific {{IAST|āprī}} hymn (a special sūkta of rigidly formulaic structure, used for animal sacrifice in the soma
Soma
Soma , or Haoma , from Proto-Indo-Iranian *sauma-, was a ritual drink of importance among the early Indo-Iranians, and the subsequent Vedic and greater Persian cultures. It is frequently mentioned in the Rigveda, whose Soma Mandala contains 114 hymns, many praising its energizing qualities...

 ritual
Yajna
In Hinduism, yajna is a ritual of sacrifice derived from the practice of Vedic times. It is performed to please the gods or to attain certain wishes...

).
Family Āprī |Ṛcas}}
Angiras  I.142 3619 (especially Mandala 6
Mandala 6
The sixth Mandala of the Rig Veda has 75 hymns, mainly to Agni and Indra. Most hymns in this book are attributed to the family of Angirasas, especially to Bharadvaja...

)
Kanva  I.13 1315 (especially Mandala 8
Mandala 8
The eighth Mandala of the Rigveda has 103 hymns. Other than the "family books" and RV 1 and RV 10 , Mandala 8 cannot straightforwardly be dated as a whole relative to the other books, and its hymns may include both ancient and late...

)
Vasishtha  VII.2 1276 (Mandala 7
Mandala 7
The seventh Mandala of the Rigveda has 104 hymns. In the Rigveda Anukramani, all hymns in this book are attributed to Vasishta...

)
Vishvamitra  III.4 983 (Mandala 3
Mandala 3
The third Mandala of the Rigveda has 62 hymns, mainly to Agni and Indra. It is one of the "family books" , the oldest core of the Rigveda...

)
Atri
Atri
This article is about the sage named Attri. See also the gotra named Atri. For the Italian city, see Atri, AbruzzoIn Hinduism, Attri or Atri is a legendary bard and scholar and was one of 9 Prajapatis, and a son of Brahma, said to be ancestor of some Brahmin, Prajapatis, kshatriya and Vaishya...

 
V.5 885 (Mandala 5
Mandala 5
The fifth Mandala of the Rigveda has 87 hymns. Most hymns in this book are attributed to the family. The mandala is one of the "family books" , the oldest core of the Rigveda....

)
Bhrgu
Bhrigus
Maharishi Bhrigu was one of the seven great sages, the Saptarshis, in ancient India, one of the many Prajapatis created by Brahma , the first compiler of predictive astrology, and also the author of Bhrigu Samhita, the astrological classic written during the Vedic period, Treta yuga.Bhrigu is a...

 
X.110 473
Kashyapa  IX.5 415 (part of Mandala 9
Mandala 9
The ninth Mandala of the Rigveda, also called the Soma Mandala, has 114 hymns, entirely devoted to , "Purifying Soma", the sacred potion of the Vedic religion....

)
Grtsamada  II.3 401 (Mandala 2
Mandala 2
The second Mandala of the Rigveda has 43 hymns, mainly to Agni and Indra chiefly attributed to the Rishi The second Mandala of the [[Rigveda]] has 43 hymns, mainly to [[Agni]] and [[Indra]] chiefly attributed to the Rishi ...

)
Agastya
Agastya
Agastya was a Tamil/Vedic Siddhar or sage. Agastya and his clan are also generally credited with uncovering many mantras of the Rig Veda, the earliest and most revered Hindu scripture, in the sense of first having the mantras revealed in his mind by the Supreme Brahman...

 
I.188 316
Bharata  X.70 170

Manuscripts


There are, for example, 30 manuscripts of Rigveda at the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute
Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute
The Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute is located in Pune, Maharashtra, India. It was founded on July 6, 1917 to honor the life and work of Dr. Ramakrishna Gopal Bhandarkar , long regarded as the founder of Indology in India...

, collected in the 19th century by Georg Bühler
Georg Bühler
Professor Johann Georg Bühler was a scholar of ancient Indian languages and law.Bühler was born to Rev. Johann G...

, Franz Kielhorn and others, originating from different parts of India, including Kashmir
Kashmir
Kashmir is the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent. Until the mid-19th century, the term Kashmir geographically denoted only the valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal mountain range...

, Gujarat, the then Rajaputana, Central Provinces
Central Provinces
The Central Provinces was a province of British India. It comprised British conquests from the Mughals and Marathas in central India, and covered parts of present-day Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra states. Its capital was Nagpur....

 etc. They were transferred to Deccan College
Deccan College (Pune)
Deccan College Post-Graduate and Research Institute is a post-graduate institute of Archeology and Linguistics in Pune, India.Established October 6, 1821, Deccan College is one of the oldest institutions of modern learning in India...

, Pune
Pune
Pune , is the eighth largest metropolis in India, the second largest in the state of Maharashtra after Mumbai, and the largest city in the Western Ghats. Once the centre of power of the Maratha Empire, it is situated 560 metres above sea level on the Deccan plateau at the confluence of the Mula ...

, in the late 19th century. They are in the Sharada and Devanagari
Devanagari
Devanagari |deva]]" and "nāgarī" ), also called Nagari , is an abugida alphabet of India and Nepal...

 scripts, written on birch bark and paper. The oldest of them is dated to 1464. The 30 manuscripts of Rigveda preserved at the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute
Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute
The Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute is located in Pune, Maharashtra, India. It was founded on July 6, 1917 to honor the life and work of Dr. Ramakrishna Gopal Bhandarkar , long regarded as the founder of Indology in India...

, Pune
Pune
Pune , is the eighth largest metropolis in India, the second largest in the state of Maharashtra after Mumbai, and the largest city in the Western Ghats. Once the centre of power of the Maratha Empire, it is situated 560 metres above sea level on the Deccan plateau at the confluence of the Mula ...

 were added to UNESCO
UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

's "Memory of the World Register in 2007.

Of these 30 manuscripts, 9 contain the samhita text, 5 have the padapatha in addition. 13 contain Sayana's commentary. At least 5 manuscripts (MS. no. 1/A1879-80, 1/A1881-82, 331/1883-84 and 5/Viś I) have preserved the complete text of the Rigveda. MS no. 5/1875-76, written on birch bark in bold Sharada, was only in part used by Max Müller
Max Müller
Friedrich Max Müller , more regularly known as Max Müller, was a German philologist and Orientalist, one of the founders of the western academic field of Indian studies and the discipline of comparative religion...

 for his edition of the Rigveda with Sayana's commentary.

Müller used 24 manuscripts then available to him in Europe, while the Pune Edition used over five dozen manuscripts, but the editors of Pune Edition could not procure many manuscripts used by Müller and by the Bombay Edition, as well as from some other sources; hence the total number of extant manuscripts known then must surpass perhaps eighty at least

Contents


{{See also|Rigvedic deities}}
The Rigvedic hymns are dedicated to various deities, chief of whom are Indra
Indra
' or is the King of the demi-gods or Devas and Lord of Heaven or Svargaloka in Hindu mythology. He is also the God of War, Storms, and Rainfall.Indra is one of the chief deities in the Rigveda...

, a heroic god praised for having slain his enemy Vrtra; Agni
Agni
Agni is a Hindu deity, one of the most important of the Vedic gods. He is the god of fire and the acceptor of sacrifices. The sacrifices made to Agni go to the deities because Agni is a messenger from and to the other gods...

, the sacrificial fire; and Soma
Soma
Soma , or Haoma , from Proto-Indo-Iranian *sauma-, was a ritual drink of importance among the early Indo-Iranians, and the subsequent Vedic and greater Persian cultures. It is frequently mentioned in the Rigveda, whose Soma Mandala contains 114 hymns, many praising its energizing qualities...

, the sacred potion or the plant it is made from. Equally prominent gods are the Adityas
Ādityas
In Hinduism, Āditya , meaning "of or related to Aditi", refers to the offsprings of Aditi. Adityas are solar class deities. In later Hinduism, Aditya is used in the singular to mean the sun.-Vedas:...

 or Asura gods Mitra
Mitra (Vedic)
This article is about the Vedic deity Mitra. For other divinities with related names, see the general article Mitra.Mitra is an important divinity of Indic culture, and the patron divinity of honesty, friendship, contracts and meetings...

Varuna
Varuna
In Vedic religion, Varuna is a god of the sky, of water and of the celestial ocean, as well as a god of law and of the underworld...

 and Ushas
Ushas
Ushas , Sanskrit for "dawn", is a Vedic deity, and consequently a Hindu deity as well.Sanskrit is an s-stem, i.e. the genitive case is . It is from PIE , cognate to Greek Eos and Latin Aurora....

 (the dawn). Also invoked are Savitr
Savitr
Savitr IAST: savitrIn Vedic religion, Savitr , Savitā is a solar deity and one of the Adityas i.e. off-spring of Vedic deity Aditi. His name in Vedic Sanskrit connotes "impeller, rouser, vivifier"...

, Vishnu
Vishnu
Vishnu is the Supreme god in the Vaishnavite tradition of Hinduism. Smarta followers of Adi Shankara, among others, venerate Vishnu as one of the five primary forms of God....

, Rudra
Rudra
' is a Rigvedic God, associated with wind or storm, and the hunt. The name has been translated as "The Roarer", or "The Howler"....

, Pushan
Pushan
Pushan is a Vedic solar deity and one of the Adityas. He is the god of meeting. Pushan was responsible for marriages, journeys, roads, and the feeding of cattle. He was a psychopomp, conducting souls to the other world. He protected travelers from bandits and wild beasts, and protected men from...

, Brihaspati
Brihaspati
Bṛhaspati also known as Brahmanaspati and Deva-guru , is the name of a Vedic deity...

 or Brahmanaspati, as well as deified natural phenomena such as Dyaus Pita
Dyaus Pita
In the Vedic pantheon ' or ' or Dyaus Pitar is the Sky Father, divine consort of the Prithvi and father of Agni, Indra , and Ushas, the daughter representing dawn. In archaic Vedic lore, Dyauṣ Pitṛ and Prithivi Matṛ were one, single composite dvandva entity, named as the Dyavaprthivi...

 (the shining sky, Father Heaven ), Prithivi (the earth, Mother Earth), Surya
Surya
Surya Suraya or Phra Athit is the chief solar deity in Hinduism, one of the Adityas, son of Kasyapa and one of his wives, Aditi; of Indra; or of Dyaus Pitar . The term Surya also refers to the Sun, in general. Surya has hair and arms of gold...

 (the sun god), Vayu
Vayu
Vāyu is a primary Hindu deity, the Lord of the winds, the father of Bhima and the spiritual father of Lord Hanuman...

 or Vata (the wind), Apas
Ap (water)
Ap is the Vedic Sanskrit term for "water", in Classical Sanskrit occurring only in the plural, , whence Hindi . The term is from PIE hxap "water"....

 (the waters), Parjanya
Parjanya
Parjanya, according to the 1965 Sanskrit–English dictionary by Shri Vaman Shivram Apte gives the following meanings:* Rain-cloud, thunder cloud, a cloud in general* Rain...

 (the thunder and rain), Vac
VAC
VAC or Vac may refer to:In arts and entertainment* Velvet Acid Christ, an industrial band* Video Appeals Committee in the United Kingdom, responsible for hearing appeals against decisions by the British Board of Film Classification...

 (the word), many rivers
Rigvedic rivers
Rivers, such as the Sapta Sindhu , play a prominent part in the hymns of the Rigveda, and consequently in early Vedic religion...

 (notably the Sapta Sindhu, and the Sarasvati River
Sarasvati River
The Sarasvati River is one of the chief Rigvedic rivers mentioned in ancient Hindu texts. The Nadistuti hymn in the Rigveda mentions the Sarasvati between the Yamuna in the east and the Sutlej in the west, and later Vedic texts like Tandya and Jaiminiya Brahmanas as well as the Mahabharata...

). The Adityas
Ādityas
In Hinduism, Āditya , meaning "of or related to Aditi", refers to the offsprings of Aditi. Adityas are solar class deities. In later Hinduism, Aditya is used in the singular to mean the sun.-Vedas:...

, Vasus, Rudras, Sadhyas, Ashvins
Ashvins
The Ashvins , in Hindu mythology, are divine twin horsemen in the Rigveda, sons of Saranya , a goddess of the clouds and wife of Surya in his form as Vivasvat. The Ashvins are Vedic gods symbolising the shining of sunrise and sunset, appearing in the sky before the dawn in a golden chariot,...

, Maruts
Maruts
In Hinduism the Marutas , also known as the Marutagana and sometimes identified with Rudras, are storm deities and sons of Rudra and Diti and attendants of Indra. The number of Maruts varies from two to sixty . They are very violent and aggressive, described as armed with golden weapons i.e...

, Rbhus
Rbhus
The Ribhus are three semi-divine beings of the Rigveda and the Atharvaveda, Ribhu, Vaja and Vibhvan, collectively called by the name of their leader. In later Hindu mythology , Ribhu is a son of Brahma....

, and the Vishvadevas ("all-gods") as well as the "thirty-three gods" are the groups of deities mentioned.

The hymns mention various further minor gods, persons, phenomena and items, and contain fragmentary references to possible historical events, notably the struggle between the early Vedic people (known as Vedic Aryans, a subgroup of the Indo-Aryans
Indo-Aryans
Indo-Aryan is an ethno-linguistic term referring to the wide collection of peoples united as native speakers of the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-Iranian family of Indo-European languages...

) and their enemies, the Dasa
Dasa
Dasa is a term used with the primary meaning 'enemy', especially relating to tribes identified as the enemies of the Indo-Aryan tribes in the Rigveda....

 or Dasyu and their mythical prototypes, the Paṇi (the Bactrian Parna).

  • Mandala 1
    Mandala 1
    The first Mandala of the Rigveda has 191 hymns. Together with Mandala 10, it forms the latest part of the Rigveda, its composition likely dating to the Early Iron Age....

     comprises 191 hymns. Hymn 1.1 is addressed to Agni
    Agni
    Agni is a Hindu deity, one of the most important of the Vedic gods. He is the god of fire and the acceptor of sacrifices. The sacrifices made to Agni go to the deities because Agni is a messenger from and to the other gods...

    , and his name is the first word of the Rigveda. The remaining hymns are mainly addressed to Agni and Indra
    Indra
    ' or is the King of the demi-gods or Devas and Lord of Heaven or Svargaloka in Hindu mythology. He is also the God of War, Storms, and Rainfall.Indra is one of the chief deities in the Rigveda...

    , as well as Varuna, Mitra, the Ashvins, the Maruts, Usas, Surya, Rbhus, Rudra, Vayu, Brhaspati, Visnu, Heaven and Earth, and all the Gods.
  • Mandala 2
    Mandala 2
    The second Mandala of the Rigveda has 43 hymns, mainly to Agni and Indra chiefly attributed to the Rishi The second Mandala of the [[Rigveda]] has 43 hymns, mainly to [[Agni]] and [[Indra]] chiefly attributed to the Rishi ...

     comprises 43 hymns, mainly to Agni
    Agni
    Agni is a Hindu deity, one of the most important of the Vedic gods. He is the god of fire and the acceptor of sacrifices. The sacrifices made to Agni go to the deities because Agni is a messenger from and to the other gods...

     and Indra
    Indra
    ' or is the King of the demi-gods or Devas and Lord of Heaven or Svargaloka in Hindu mythology. He is also the God of War, Storms, and Rainfall.Indra is one of the chief deities in the Rigveda...

    . It is chiefly attributed to the Rishi {{IAST|gṛtsamada śaunahotra}}.
  • Mandala 3
    Mandala 3
    The third Mandala of the Rigveda has 62 hymns, mainly to Agni and Indra. It is one of the "family books" , the oldest core of the Rigveda...

     comprises 62 hymns, mainly to Agni
    Agni
    Agni is a Hindu deity, one of the most important of the Vedic gods. He is the god of fire and the acceptor of sacrifices. The sacrifices made to Agni go to the deities because Agni is a messenger from and to the other gods...

     and Indra
    Indra
    ' or is the King of the demi-gods or Devas and Lord of Heaven or Svargaloka in Hindu mythology. He is also the God of War, Storms, and Rainfall.Indra is one of the chief deities in the Rigveda...

     and the Vishvedevas. The verse 3.62.10 has great importance in Hinduism
    Hinduism
    Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

     as the Gayatri Mantra
    Gayatri Mantra
    The Gāyatrī Mantra is a highly revered mantra, based on a Vedic Sanskrit verse from a hymn of the Rigveda , attributed to the rishi . The mantra is named for its vedic gāyatrī metre. As the verse can be interpreted to invoke the deva Savitr, it is often called Sāvitrī...

    . Most hymns in this book are attributed to {{IAST|viśvāmitra gāthinaḥ}}.
  • Mandala 4
    Mandala 4
    The fourth Mandala of the Rigveda has 58 hymns, mainly to Agni and Indra. It is one of the "family books" , the oldest core of the Rigveda....

     comprises 58 hymns, mainly to Agni
    Agni
    Agni is a Hindu deity, one of the most important of the Vedic gods. He is the god of fire and the acceptor of sacrifices. The sacrifices made to Agni go to the deities because Agni is a messenger from and to the other gods...

     and Indra
    Indra
    ' or is the King of the demi-gods or Devas and Lord of Heaven or Svargaloka in Hindu mythology. He is also the God of War, Storms, and Rainfall.Indra is one of the chief deities in the Rigveda...

     as well as the Rbhus, Ashvins, Brhaspati, Vayu, Usas, etc. Most hymns in this book are attributed to {{IAST|vāmadeva gautama}}.
  • Mandala 5
    Mandala 5
    The fifth Mandala of the Rigveda has 87 hymns. Most hymns in this book are attributed to the family. The mandala is one of the "family books" , the oldest core of the Rigveda....

     comprises 87 hymns, mainly to Agni
    Agni
    Agni is a Hindu deity, one of the most important of the Vedic gods. He is the god of fire and the acceptor of sacrifices. The sacrifices made to Agni go to the deities because Agni is a messenger from and to the other gods...

     and Indra
    Indra
    ' or is the King of the demi-gods or Devas and Lord of Heaven or Svargaloka in Hindu mythology. He is also the God of War, Storms, and Rainfall.Indra is one of the chief deities in the Rigveda...

    , the Visvedevas
    Visvedevas
    The Visvedevas are the various Vedic gods taken together as a whole. In the Rigveda a number of hymns are addressed to them, including 1.89,3.54-56,4.55,5.41-51,6.49-52,7.34-37, 39, 40, 42, 43,8.27-30, 58, 83...

     ("all the gods'), the Maruts
    Maruts
    In Hinduism the Marutas , also known as the Marutagana and sometimes identified with Rudras, are storm deities and sons of Rudra and Diti and attendants of Indra. The number of Maruts varies from two to sixty . They are very violent and aggressive, described as armed with golden weapons i.e...

    , the twin-deity Mitra-Varuna
    Mitra-Varuna
    Mitra and Varuna are two deities frequently referred to in the ancient Indian scripture of the Rigveda. They are both considered Adityas, or deities connected with the Sun; and they are protectors of the righteous order of rta...

     and the Asvins. Two hymns each are dedicated to Ushas
    Ushas
    Ushas , Sanskrit for "dawn", is a Vedic deity, and consequently a Hindu deity as well.Sanskrit is an s-stem, i.e. the genitive case is . It is from PIE , cognate to Greek Eos and Latin Aurora....

     (the dawn) and to Savitr
    Savitr
    Savitr IAST: savitrIn Vedic religion, Savitr , Savitā is a solar deity and one of the Adityas i.e. off-spring of Vedic deity Aditi. His name in Vedic Sanskrit connotes "impeller, rouser, vivifier"...

    . Most hymns in this book are attributed to the {{IAST|atri}} clan.
  • Mandala 6
    Mandala 6
    The sixth Mandala of the Rig Veda has 75 hymns, mainly to Agni and Indra. Most hymns in this book are attributed to the family of Angirasas, especially to Bharadvaja...

     comprises 75 hymns, mainly to Agni
    Agni
    Agni is a Hindu deity, one of the most important of the Vedic gods. He is the god of fire and the acceptor of sacrifices. The sacrifices made to Agni go to the deities because Agni is a messenger from and to the other gods...

     and Indra
    Indra
    ' or is the King of the demi-gods or Devas and Lord of Heaven or Svargaloka in Hindu mythology. He is also the God of War, Storms, and Rainfall.Indra is one of the chief deities in the Rigveda...

    , all the gods, Pusan, Ashvin, Usas, etc. Most hymns in this book are attributed to the {{IAST|bārhaspatya}} family of Angirasas.
  • Mandala 7
    Mandala 7
    The seventh Mandala of the Rigveda has 104 hymns. In the Rigveda Anukramani, all hymns in this book are attributed to Vasishta...

     comprises 104 hymns, to Agni
    Agni
    Agni is a Hindu deity, one of the most important of the Vedic gods. He is the god of fire and the acceptor of sacrifices. The sacrifices made to Agni go to the deities because Agni is a messenger from and to the other gods...

    , Indra
    Indra
    ' or is the King of the demi-gods or Devas and Lord of Heaven or Svargaloka in Hindu mythology. He is also the God of War, Storms, and Rainfall.Indra is one of the chief deities in the Rigveda...

    , the Visvadevas, the Maruts
    Maruts
    In Hinduism the Marutas , also known as the Marutagana and sometimes identified with Rudras, are storm deities and sons of Rudra and Diti and attendants of Indra. The number of Maruts varies from two to sixty . They are very violent and aggressive, described as armed with golden weapons i.e...

    , Mitra-Varuna
    Mitra-Varuna
    Mitra and Varuna are two deities frequently referred to in the ancient Indian scripture of the Rigveda. They are both considered Adityas, or deities connected with the Sun; and they are protectors of the righteous order of rta...

    , the Asvins, Ushas
    Ushas
    Ushas , Sanskrit for "dawn", is a Vedic deity, and consequently a Hindu deity as well.Sanskrit is an s-stem, i.e. the genitive case is . It is from PIE , cognate to Greek Eos and Latin Aurora....

    , Indra-Varuna, Varuna
    Varuna
    In Vedic religion, Varuna is a god of the sky, of water and of the celestial ocean, as well as a god of law and of the underworld...

    , Vayu
    Vayu
    Vāyu is a primary Hindu deity, the Lord of the winds, the father of Bhima and the spiritual father of Lord Hanuman...

     (the wind), two each to Sarasvati (ancient river/goddess of learning) and Vishnu
    Vishnu
    Vishnu is the Supreme god in the Vaishnavite tradition of Hinduism. Smarta followers of Adi Shankara, among others, venerate Vishnu as one of the five primary forms of God....

    , and to others. Most hymns in this book are attributed to {{IAST|vasiṣṭha maitravaruṇi}}.
  • Mandala 8
    Mandala 8
    The eighth Mandala of the Rigveda has 103 hymns. Other than the "family books" and RV 1 and RV 10 , Mandala 8 cannot straightforwardly be dated as a whole relative to the other books, and its hymns may include both ancient and late...

     comprises 103 hymns to various gods. Hymns 8.49 to 8.59 are the apocryphal {{IAST|vālakhilya}}. Hymns 1–48 and 60–66 are attributed to the {{IAST|kāṇva}} clan, the rest to other (Angirasa) poets.
  • Mandala 9
    Mandala 9
    The ninth Mandala of the Rigveda, also called the Soma Mandala, has 114 hymns, entirely devoted to , "Purifying Soma", the sacred potion of the Vedic religion....

     comprises 114 hymns, entirely devoted to Soma
    Soma
    Soma , or Haoma , from Proto-Indo-Iranian *sauma-, was a ritual drink of importance among the early Indo-Iranians, and the subsequent Vedic and greater Persian cultures. It is frequently mentioned in the Rigveda, whose Soma Mandala contains 114 hymns, many praising its energizing qualities...

     Pavamana
    , the cleansing of the sacred potion of the Vedic religion.
  • Mandala 10
    Mandala 10
    The tenth Mandala of the Rigveda has 191 hymns. Together with Mandala 1, it forms the latest part of the Rigveda, containing much mythological material, including the Purusha sukta and the dialogue of Sarama with the Panis , and notably containing several dialogue hymns...

     comprises additional 191 hymns, frequently in later language, addressed to Agni
    Agni
    Agni is a Hindu deity, one of the most important of the Vedic gods. He is the god of fire and the acceptor of sacrifices. The sacrifices made to Agni go to the deities because Agni is a messenger from and to the other gods...

    , Indra
    Indra
    ' or is the King of the demi-gods or Devas and Lord of Heaven or Svargaloka in Hindu mythology. He is also the God of War, Storms, and Rainfall.Indra is one of the chief deities in the Rigveda...

     and various other deities. It contains the Nadistuti sukta
    Nadistuti sukta
    The Nadistuti sukta ,"hymn of praise of rivers", is hymn 10.75 of the Rigveda.It is important for the reconstruction of the geography of the Vedic civilization...

     which is in praise of rivers and is important for the reconstruction of the geography of the Vedic civilization and the Purusha sukta
    Purusha sukta
    Purusha sukta is hymn 10.90 of the Rigveda, dedicated to the Purusha, the "Cosmic Being". One version of the Suktam has 16 verses, 15 in the meter, and the final one in the meter...

     which has great significance in Hindu social tradition. It also contains the Nasadiya sukta
    Nasadiya Sukta
    The Nasadiya Sukta is the 129th hymn of the 10th Mandala of the Rigveda. It is concerned with cosmology and the origin of the universe. It is known for its skepticism...

     (10.129), probably the most celebrated hymn in the west, which deals with creation. The marriage hymns (10.85) and the death hymns (10.10–18) still are of great importance in the performance of the corresponding Grhya rituals.

Dating and historical context


The Rigveda's core is accepted to date to the late Bronze Age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

, making it one of the few examples with an unbroken tradition. Its composition is usually dated to roughly between 1700–1100 BC. The Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture
Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture
The Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture is an encyclopedia of Indo-European studies and the Proto-Indo-Europeans. The encyclopedia was edited by J. P. Mallory and Douglas Q. Adams and published in 1997 by Fitzroy Dearborn...

 (s.v. Indo-Iranian languages
Indo-Iranian languages
The Indo-Iranian language group constitutes the easternmost extant branch of the Indo-European family of languages. It consists of three language groups: the Indo-Aryan, Iranian and Nuristani...

, p. 306) gives 1500–1000.
Being composed in an early Indo-Aryan language, the hymns must post-date the Indo-Iranian separation, dated to roughly 2000 BC. A reasonable date close to that of the composition of the core of the Rigveda is that of the Indo-Aryan Mitanni documents of c. 1400 BC. Other evidence also points to a composition close to 1400 BC

The Rigveda is far more archaic than any other Indo-Aryan text. For this reason, it was in the center of attention of western scholarship from the times of Max Müller
Max Müller
Friedrich Max Müller , more regularly known as Max Müller, was a German philologist and Orientalist, one of the founders of the western academic field of Indian studies and the discipline of comparative religion...

 and Rudolf Roth
Rudolf Roth
Rudolf von Roth was a German Indologist, founder of the Vedic philology. His chief work is a monumental Sanskrit dictionary, compiled in collaboration with Otto von Böhtlingk.-Biography:He was educated at the universities of Tübingen and Berlin...

 onwards. The Rigveda records an early stage of Vedic religion
Historical Vedic religion
The religion of the Vedic period is a historical predecessor of Hinduism. Its liturgy is reflected in the mantra portion of the four Vedas, which are compiled in Sanskrit. The religious practices centered on a clergy administering rites...

. There are strong linguistic and cultural similarities with the early Iranian Avesta
Avesta
The Avesta is the primary collection of sacred texts of Zoroastrianism, composed in the Avestan language.-Early transmission:The texts of the Avesta — which are all in the Avestan language — were composed over the course of several hundred years. The most important portion, the Gathas,...

, deriving from the Proto-Indo-Iranian
Proto-Indo-Iranian language
Proto-Indo-Iranian is the reconstructed proto-language of the Indo-Iranian branch of Indo-European. Its speakers, the hypothetical Proto-Indo-Iranians, are assumed to have lived in the late 3rd millennium BC, and are usually connected with the early Andronovo archaeological...

 times, often associated with the early Andronovo culture
Andronovo culture
The Andronovo culture, is a collection of similar local Bronze Age cultures that flourished ca. 21200–1400 BCE in western Siberia and the west Asiatic steppe. It is probably better termed an archaeological complex or archaeological horizon...

 of ca. 2000 BC.

The text in the following centuries underwent pronunciation revisions and standardization (samhitapatha, padapatha). This redaction would have been completed around the 6th century BC. Exact dates are not established, but they fall within the pre-Buddhist period (500, or rather 400 BC).

Writing appears in India around the 3rd century BC in the form of the Brahmi
Brāhmī script
Brāhmī is the modern name given to the oldest members of the Brahmic family of scripts. The best-known Brāhmī inscriptions are the rock-cut edicts of Ashoka in north-central India, dated to the 3rd century BCE. These are traditionally considered to be early known examples of Brāhmī writing...

 script, but texts of the length of the Rigveda were likely not written down until much later, the oldest surviving Rigvedic manuscript dating to the 14th century.{{Dubious|date=May 2009}} While written manuscripts were used for teaching in medieval times, they were written on birch bark or palm leaves, which decompose fairly quickly in the tropical climate, until the advent of the printing press
Printing press
A printing press is a device for applying pressure to an inked surface resting upon a print medium , thereby transferring the ink...

 from the 16th{{Dubious|date=May 2009}} century. Some Rigveda commentaries may date from the second half of the first millennium CE. The hymns were thus preserved by oral tradition
Oral tradition
Oral tradition and oral lore is cultural material and traditions transmitted orally from one generation to another. The messages or testimony are verbally transmitted in speech or song and may take the form, for example, of folktales, sayings, ballads, songs, or chants...

 for up to a millennium from the time of their composition until the redaction of the Rigveda, and the entire Rigveda was preserved in shakha
Shakha
A shakha , is a Hindu theological school that specializes in learning certain Vedic texts, or else the traditional texts followed by such a school. An individual follower of a particular school or recension is called a ...

s for another 2,500 years from the time of its redaction until the editio princeps by Rosen, Aufrecht and Max Müller.

After their composition, the texts were preserved and codified by an extensive body of Vedic priesthood
Vedic priesthood
Priests of the Vedic religion were officiants of the yajna service. As persons trained for the ritual and proficient in its practice, they were called '...

 as the central philosophy of the Iron Age Vedic civilization. The Brahma Purana
Brahma Purana
The Brahma Purana is one of the major eighteen Mahapuranas, a genre of Hindu religious texts. The extant text comprises 246 chapters. It is divided into two parts, namely the Purvabhaga and the Uttarabhaga . The first part narrates the story behind the creation of the cosmos, details the life and...

 and the Vayu Purana
Vayu Purana
The Vayu Purana is a Shaiva Purana, a Hindu religious text, dedicated to the god Vayu , containing about 24,000 shlokas.-Date:Banabhatta refers to this work in his Kadambari and Harshacharita...

 name one Vidagdha as the author of the Padapatha. The Rk-pratishakhya names Sthavira Shakalya of the Aitareya Aranyaka as its author.

The Rigveda describes a mobile, semi-nomad
Nomad
Nomadic people , commonly known as itinerants in modern-day contexts, are communities of people who move from one place to another, rather than settling permanently in one location. There are an estimated 30-40 million nomads in the world. Many cultures have traditionally been nomadic, but...

ic culture, with horse-drawn chariot
Chariot
The chariot is a type of horse carriage used in both peace and war as the chief vehicle of many ancient peoples. Ox carts, proto-chariots, were built by the Proto-Indo-Europeans and also built in Mesopotamia as early as 3000 BC. The original horse chariot was a fast, light, open, two wheeled...

s, oxen-drawn wagons, and metal (bronze) weapons. The geography described is consistent with that of the Greater Punjab
Punjab region
The Punjab , also spelled Panjab |water]]s"), is a geographical region straddling the border between Pakistan and India which includes Punjab province in Pakistan and the states of the Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh and some northern parts of the National Capital Territory of Delhi...

: Rivers
Rigvedic rivers
Rivers, such as the Sapta Sindhu , play a prominent part in the hymns of the Rigveda, and consequently in early Vedic religion...

 flow north to south, the mountains are relatively remote but still visible and reachable (Soma
Soma
Soma , or Haoma , from Proto-Indo-Iranian *sauma-, was a ritual drink of importance among the early Indo-Iranians, and the subsequent Vedic and greater Persian cultures. It is frequently mentioned in the Rigveda, whose Soma Mandala contains 114 hymns, many praising its energizing qualities...

 is a plant found in the high mountains, and it has to be purchased from tribal people). Nevertheless, the hymns were certainly composed over a long period, with the oldest (not preserved) elements possibly reaching back to times close to the split of Proto-Indo-Iranian (around 2000 BC) Thus there was some debate over whether the boasts of the destruction of stone forts by the Vedic Aryans and particularly by Indra refer to cities of the Indus Valley civilization
Indus Valley Civilization
The Indus Valley Civilization was a Bronze Age civilization that was located in the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent, consisting of what is now mainly modern-day Pakistan and northwest India...

 or whether they rather hark back to clashes between the early Indo-Aryans
Indo-Aryans
Indo-Aryan is an ethno-linguistic term referring to the wide collection of peoples united as native speakers of the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-Iranian family of Indo-European languages...

 with the BMAC in what is now northern Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 and southern Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan , formerly also known as Turkmenia is one of the Turkic states in Central Asia. Until 1991, it was a constituent republic of the Soviet Union, the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic . Turkmenistan is one of the six independent Turkic states...

 (separated from the upper Indus
Indus River
The Indus River is a major river which flows through Pakistan. It also has courses through China and India.Originating in the Tibetan plateau of western China in the vicinity of Lake Mansarovar in Tibet Autonomous Region, the river runs a course through the Ladakh district of Jammu and Kashmir and...

 by the Hindu Kush
Hindu Kush
The Hindu Kush is an mountain range that stretches between central Afghanistan and northern Pakistan. The highest point in the Hindu Kush is Tirich Mir in the Chitral region of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan.It is the westernmost extension of the Pamir Mountains, the Karakoram Range, and is a...

 mountain range, and some 400 km distant).

While it is highly likely that the bulk of the Rigvedic hymns were composed in the Punjab, even if based on earlier poetic traditions, there is no mention of either tiger
Tiger
The tiger is the largest cat species, reaching a total body length of up to and weighing up to . Their most recognizable feature is a pattern of dark vertical stripes on reddish-orange fur with lighter underparts...

s or rice
Rice
Rice is the seed of the monocot plants Oryza sativa or Oryza glaberrima . As a cereal grain, it is the most important staple food for a large part of the world's human population, especially in East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and the West Indies...

 in the Rigveda (as opposed to the later Vedas), suggesting that Vedic culture only penetrated into the plains of India after its completion. Similarly, there is no mention of iron
Iron
Iron is a chemical element with the symbol Fe and atomic number 26. It is a metal in the first transition series. It is the most common element forming the planet Earth as a whole, forming much of Earth's outer and inner core. It is the fourth most common element in the Earth's crust...

 as the term ayas occurring in the Rig Veda refers to useful metal in general. The "black metal" ({{IAST|kṛṣṇa ayas}}) is first mentioned in the post-Rigvedic texts (Atharvaveda etc.). The Iron Age in northern India begins in the 10th century in the Greater Panjab. There is a widely accepted timeframe for the beginning codification of the Rigveda by compiling the hymns very late in the Rigvedic or rather in the early post-Rigvedic period, including the arrangement of the individual hymns in ten books, coeval with and the composition of the younger Veda Samhitas. This time coincides with the early Kuru kingdom, shifting the center of Vedic culture east from the Punjab into what is now Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh abbreviation U.P. , is a state located in the northern part of India. With a population of over 200 million people, it is India's most populous state, as well as the world's most populous sub-national entity...

. The fixing of the samhitapatha (by keeping Sandhi
Sandhi
Sandhi is a cover term for a wide variety of phonological processes that occur at morpheme or word boundaries . Examples include the fusion of sounds across word boundaries and the alteration of sounds due to neighboring sounds or due to the grammatical function of adjacent words...

) intact and of the padapatha (by dissolving Sandhi out of the earlier metrical text), occurred during the later Brahmana period.

Some of the names of gods and goddesses
Rigvedic deities
There are 1028 hymns in the Rigveda, most of them dedicated to specific deities.Indra, a heroic god, slayer of Vrtra and destroyer of the Vala, liberator of the cows and the rivers; Agni the sacrificial fire and messenger of the gods; and Soma the ritual drink dedicated to Indra are the most...

 found in the Rigveda are found amongst other belief systems based on Proto-Indo-European religion
Proto-Indo-European religion
Proto-Indo-European religion is the hypothesized religion of the Proto-Indo-European peoples based on the existence of similarities among the deities, religious practices and mythologies of the Indo-European peoples. Reconstruction of the hypotheses below is based on linguistic evidence using the...

, while words used share common roots
Proto-Indo-European root
The roots of the reconstructed Proto-Indo-European language are basic parts of words that carry a lexical meaning, so-called morphemes. PIE roots always have verbal meaning like "to eat" or "to run", as opposed to nouns , adjectives , or other parts of speech. Roots never occur alone in the language...

 with words from other Indo-European languages
Indo-European languages
The Indo-European languages are a family of several hundred related languages and dialects, including most major current languages of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and South Asia and also historically predominant in Anatolia...

.

The horse
Horse
The horse is one of two extant subspecies of Equus ferus, or the wild horse. It is a single-hooved mammal belonging to the taxonomic family Equidae. The horse has evolved over the past 45 to 55 million years from a small multi-toed creature into the large, single-toed animal of today...

 (ashva
Ashva
Aśvaḥ is the Sanskrit word for a "horse", one of the significant animals finding references in the Vedas as well as later Hindu scriptures. The corresponding Avestan term is aspa...

), cattle
Cattle
Cattle are the most common type of large domesticated ungulates. They are a prominent modern member of the subfamily Bovinae, are the most widespread species of the genus Bos, and are most commonly classified collectively as Bos primigenius...

, sheep and goat play an important role in the Rigveda. There are also references to the elephant
Elephant
Elephants are large land mammals in two extant genera of the family Elephantidae: Elephas and Loxodonta, with the third genus Mammuthus extinct...

 (Hastin
Hastin
Hastin is a term for elephant used in Vedic texts. Other terms for elephant include ibha and varana.- The elephant in the Rigveda :In Rig Veda 1.84.17 and 4.4.1. and probably other instances the Rig Veda seems to refer to elephants , an animal that is native to South Asia...

, Varana), camel
Camel
A camel is an even-toed ungulate within the genus Camelus, bearing distinctive fatty deposits known as humps on its back. There are two species of camels: the dromedary or Arabian camel has a single hump, and the bactrian has two humps. Dromedaries are native to the dry desert areas of West Asia,...

 (Ustra, especially in Mandala 8
Mandala 8
The eighth Mandala of the Rigveda has 103 hymns. Other than the "family books" and RV 1 and RV 10 , Mandala 8 cannot straightforwardly be dated as a whole relative to the other books, and its hymns may include both ancient and late...

), ass (khara, rasabha), buffalo (Mahisa), wolf, hyena
Hyena
Hyenas or Hyaenas are the animals of the family Hyaenidae of suborder feliforms of the Carnivora. It is the fourth smallest biological family in the Carnivora , and one of the smallest in the mammalia...

, lion
Lion
The lion is one of the four big cats in the genus Panthera, and a member of the family Felidae. With some males exceeding 250 kg in weight, it is the second-largest living cat after the tiger...

 (Simha), mountain goat (sarabha) and to the gaur
Gaur
The gaur , also called Indian bison, is a large bovine native to South Asia and Southeast Asia. The species is listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List since 1986 as the population decline in parts of the species' range is likely to be well over 70% over the last three generations...

 in the Rigveda. The peafowl
Peafowl
Peafowl are two Asiatic species of flying birds in the genus Pavo of the pheasant family, Phasianidae, best known for the male's extravagant eye-spotted tail, which it displays as part of courtship. The male is called a peacock, the female a peahen, and the offspring peachicks. The adult female...

 (mayura), the goose (hamsa) and the chakravaka (Anas casarca) are some birds mentioned in the Rigveda.

Rigveda Brahmanas


{{See also|Brahmana}}
Of the Brahmanas that were handed down in the schools of the {{IAST|Bahvṛcas}} (i.e. "possessed of many verses"), as the followers of the Rigveda are called, two have come down to us, namely those of the Aitareyins and the Kaushitakins. The Aitareya-brahmana and the Kaushitaki- (or Sankhayana-) brahmana evidently have for their groundwork the same stock of traditional exegetic matter. They differ, however, considerably as regards both the arrangement of this matter and their stylistic handling of it, with the exception of the numerous legends common to both, in which the discrepancy is comparatively slight. There is also a certain amount of material peculiar to each of them.

The Kaushitaka is, upon the whole, far more concise in its style and more systematic in its arrangement features which would lead one to infer that it is probably the more modern work of the two. It consists of thirty chapters (adhyaya); while the Aitareya has forty, divided into eight books (or pentads, pancaka), of five chapters each. The last ten adhyayas of the latter work are, however, clearly a later addition though they must have already formed part of it at the time of Pāṇini (ca. 5th c. BC), if, as seems probable, one of his grammatical sutras, regulating the formation of the names of Brahmanas, consisting of thirty and forty adhyayas, refers to these two works. In this last portion occurs the well-known legend (also found in the Shankhayana-sutra, but not in the Kaushitaki-brahmana) of Shunahshepa, whom his father Ajigarta sells and offers to slay, the recital of which formed part of the inauguration of kings.

While the Aitareya deals almost exclusively with the Soma sacrifice, the Kaushitaka, in its first six chapters, treats of the several kinds of haviryajna, or offerings of rice, milk, ghee, &c., whereupon follows the Soma sacrifice in this way, that chapters 7–10 contain the practical ceremonial and 11–30 the recitations (shastra) of the hotar. Sayana, in the introduction to his commentary on the work, ascribes the Aitareya to the sage Mahidasa Aitareya (i.e. son of Itara), also mentioned elsewhere as a philosopher; and it seems likely enough that this person arranged the Brahmana and founded the school of the Aitareyins. Regarding the authorship of the sister work we have no information, except that the opinion of the sage Kaushitaki is frequently referred to in it as authoritative, and generally in opposition to the Paingya—the Brahmana, it would seem, of a rival school, the Paingins. Probably, therefore, it is just what one of the manuscripts calls it—the Brahmana of Sankhayana (composed) in accordance with the views of Kaushitaki.

Rigveda Aranyakas


{{See also|Aranyaka}}
Each of these two Brahmanas is supplemented by a "forest book", or Aranyaka
Aranyaka
The Aranyakas are part of the Hindu śruti, the four Vedas; they were composed in late Vedic Sanskrit typical of the Brahmanas and early Upanishads; indeed, they frequently form part of either the Brahmanas or the Upanishads....

. The Aitareyaranyaka is not a uniform production. It consists of five books (aranyaka), three of which, the first and the last two, are of a liturgical nature, treating of the ceremony called mahavrata, or great vow. The last of these books, composed in sutra form, is, however, doubtless of later origin, and is, indeed, ascribed by Hindu authorities either to Shaunaka or to Ashvalayana. The second and third books, on the other hand, are purely speculative, and are also styled the Bahvrca-brahmana-upanishad. Again, the last four chapters of the second book are usually singled out as the Aitareyopanishad, ascribed, like its Brahmana (and the first book), to Mahidasa Aitareya; and the third book is also referred to as the Samhita-upanishad. As regards the Kaushitaki-aranyaka, this work consists of 15 adhyayas, the first two (treating of the mahavrata ceremony) and the 7th and 8th of which correspond to the 1st, 5th, and 3rd books of the Aitareyaranyaka, respectively, whilst the four adhyayas usually inserted between them constitute the highly interesting Kaushitaki (brahmana-) upanishad, of which we possess two different recensions. The remaining portions (9–15) of the Aranyaka treat of the vital airs, the internal Agnihotra, etc., ending with the vamsha, or succession of teachers.

Medieval Hindu scholarship


According to Hindu tradition, the Rigvedic hymns were collected by Paila
Paila
A paila is an earthenware bowl used as a plate in several South American countries. Dishes served in a paila are often prepared in it inside an oven. By extension the word paila is also used for the dishes eaten in it such as Paila marina and Paila de huevo...

 under the guidance of
{{About|the collection of Vedic hymns|the manga series|RG Veda}}
{{pp-semi|small=yes}}
{{Hindu scriptures}}
The Rigveda (
Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

: {{lang|sa|ऋग्वेद}} {{IAST|ṛgveda}}, a compound of {{IAST|ṛc}} "praise, verse" and {{IAST|veda}} "knowledge") is an ancient Indian
Indian subcontinent
The Indian subcontinent, also Indian Subcontinent, Indo-Pak Subcontinent or South Asian Subcontinent is a region of the Asian continent on the Indian tectonic plate from the Hindu Kush or Hindu Koh, Himalayas and including the Kuen Lun and Karakoram ranges, forming a land mass which extends...

 sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit
Vedic Sanskrit
Vedic Sanskrit is an old Indo-Aryan language. It is an archaic form of Sanskrit, an early descendant of Proto-Indo-Iranian. It is closely related to Avestan, the oldest preserved Iranian language...

 hymns. It is counted among the four canonical sacred texts (śruti
Sruti
' , often spelled shruti or shruthi, is a term that describes the sacred texts comprising the central canon of Hinduism and is one of the three main sources of dharma and therefore is also influential within Hindu Law...

) of Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

 known as the Vedas
Vedas
The Vedas are a large body of texts originating in ancient India. Composed in Vedic Sanskrit, the texts constitute the oldest layer of Sanskrit literature and the oldest scriptures of Hinduism....

.
Some of its verses are still recited as Hindu prayers, at religious functions and other occasions, putting these among the world's oldest religious text
Religious text
Religious texts, also known as scripture, scriptures, holy writ, or holy books, are the texts which various religious traditions consider to be sacred, or of central importance to their religious tradition...

s in continued use. The Rigveda contains several mythological and poetical accounts of the origin of the world, hymns praising the gods, and ancient prayers for life, prosperity, etc.

It is one of the oldest extant texts in any Indo-European language. Philological
Philology
Philology is the study of language in written historical sources; it is a combination of literary studies, history and linguistics.Classical philology is the philology of Greek and Classical Latin...

 and linguistic
Historical linguistics
Historical linguistics is the study of language change. It has five main concerns:* to describe and account for observed changes in particular languages...

 evidence indicate that the Rigveda was composed in the north-western region of the Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
The Indian subcontinent, also Indian Subcontinent, Indo-Pak Subcontinent or South Asian Subcontinent is a region of the Asian continent on the Indian tectonic plate from the Hindu Kush or Hindu Koh, Himalayas and including the Kuen Lun and Karakoram ranges, forming a land mass which extends...

, roughly between 1700–1100 BC (the early Vedic period
Vedic period
The Vedic period was a period in history during which the Vedas, the oldest scriptures of Hinduism, were composed. The time span of the period is uncertain. Philological and linguistic evidence indicates that the Rigveda, the oldest of the Vedas, was composed roughly between 1700–1100 BCE, also...

).

Text


The surviving form of the Rigveda is based on an early Iron Age
Iron Age India
Iron Age India, the Iron Age in the Indian subcontinent, succeeds the Late Harappan culture, also known as the last phase of the Indus Valley Tradition...

 (c. 10th c. BC) collection that established the core 'family books' (mandalas 2–7, ordered by author, deity and meter ) and a later redaction, co-eval with the redaction of the other Vedas, dating several centuries after the hymns were composed. This redaction also included some additions (contradicting the strict ordering scheme) and orthoepic changes to the Vedic Sanskrit
Vedic Sanskrit
Vedic Sanskrit is an old Indo-Aryan language. It is an archaic form of Sanskrit, an early descendant of Proto-Indo-Iranian. It is closely related to Avestan, the oldest preserved Iranian language...

 such as the regularization
Regularization (linguistics)
In linguistics, regularization is a phenomenon in language acquisition and language development, whereby irregular forms in morphology, syntax, etc., are replaced by regular ones. Examples are "gooses" instead of "geese" in child speech and replacement of the Middle English plural form for "cow",...

 of sandhi
Sandhi
Sandhi is a cover term for a wide variety of phonological processes that occur at morpheme or word boundaries . Examples include the fusion of sounds across word boundaries and the alteration of sounds due to neighboring sounds or due to the grammatical function of adjacent words...

 (termed orthoepische Diaskeuase by Oldenberg, 1888).

As with the other Vedas, the redacted text has been handed down in several versions, most importantly the Padapatha that has each word isolated in pausa
Pausa
In linguistics, pausa is the end of a prosodic unit, such as an utterance. Some sound laws specifically operate in pausa only; for example, certain phonemes may be pronounced differently at the end of a word, when no other word follows within the same prosodic unit, such as in citation form...

 form and is used for just one way of memorization; and the Samhitapatha that combines words according to the rules of sandhi (the process being described in the Pratisakhya
Pratisakhya
Pratisakhyas, collectively constituting four treatises, are works dealing with the phonetic aspects of the Sanskrit language used in Vedas. These works mainly pertain to euphonic permutation and combination of letters and special characteristics of their pronunciation as they prevailed in various...

) and is the memorized text used for recitation.

The Padapatha and the Pratisakhya anchor the text's fidelity and meaning and the fixed text was preserved with unparalleled fidelity for more than a millennium by oral tradition
Oral tradition
Oral tradition and oral lore is cultural material and traditions transmitted orally from one generation to another. The messages or testimony are verbally transmitted in speech or song and may take the form, for example, of folktales, sayings, ballads, songs, or chants...

 alone. In order to achieve this the oral tradition prescribed very structured enunciation, involving breaking down the Sanskrit compounds into stem
Word stem
In linguistics, a stem is a part of a word. The term is used with slightly different meanings.In one usage, a stem is a form to which affixes can be attached. Thus, in this usage, the English word friendships contains the stem friend, to which the derivational suffix -ship is attached to form a new...

s and inflections, as well as certain permutations. This interplay with sounds gave rise to a scholarly tradition of morphology
Morphology (linguistics)
In linguistics, morphology is the identification, analysis and description, in a language, of the structure of morphemes and other linguistic units, such as words, affixes, parts of speech, intonation/stress, or implied context...

 and phonetics
Phonetics
Phonetics is a branch of linguistics that comprises the study of the sounds of human speech, or—in the case of sign languages—the equivalent aspects of sign. It is concerned with the physical properties of speech sounds or signs : their physiological production, acoustic properties, auditory...

. The Rigveda was probably not written down until the Gupta period (4th to 6th century AD), by which time the Brahmi script
Brāhmī script
Brāhmī is the modern name given to the oldest members of the Brahmic family of scripts. The best-known Brāhmī inscriptions are the rock-cut edicts of Ashoka in north-central India, dated to the 3rd century BCE. These are traditionally considered to be early known examples of Brāhmī writing...

 had become widespread (the oldest surviving manuscripts date to the Late Middle Ages). The oral tradition still continued into recent times.

The original text (as authored by the Rishi
Rishi
Rishi denotes the composers of Vedic hymns. However, according to post-Vedic tradition, the rishi is a "seer" to whom the Vedas were "originally revealed" through states of higher consciousness. The rishis were prominent when Vedic Hinduism took shape, as far back as some three thousand years...

s) is close to but not identical to the extant Samhitapatha, but metrical and other observations allow to reconstruct (in part at least) the original text from the extant one, as printed in the Harvard Oriental Series, vol. 50 (1994).

Organization


The text is organized in 10 books, known as Mandalas, of varying age and length. The "family books": mandalas 2–7, are the oldest part of the Rigveda and the shortest books; they are arranged by length and account for 38% of the text. The eighth and ninth mandalas, comprising hymns of mixed age, account for 15% and 9%, respectively. The first and the tenth mandalas are the youngest; they are also the longest books, of 191 suktas each, accounting for 37% of the text.

Each mandala consists of hymns called {{IAST|sūkta}} ({{IAST|su-ukta
Ukta
Ukta is a village in the administrative district of Gmina Ruciane-Nida, within Pisz County, Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship, in northern Poland. It lies approximately north-west of Ruciane-Nida, west of Pisz, and east of the regional capital Olsztyn....

}}
, literally, "well recited, eulogy") intended for various sacrificial ritual
Yajna
In Hinduism, yajna is a ritual of sacrifice derived from the practice of Vedic times. It is performed to please the gods or to attain certain wishes...

s. The {{IAST|sūkta}}s in turn consist of individual stanzas called {{IAST|ṛc}} ("praise", pl. {{IAST|ṛcas}}), which are further analysed into units of verse called {{IAST|pada
Pada
Pada may refer to:*Pada , in Sanskrit grammar, and Hindu and Buddhist tradition*Sri Pada or Adam's Peak, a mountain in Sri Lanka*Pada, Estonia, village in Viru-Nigula Parish, Lääne-Viru County, Estonia*Pada River, see List of rivers of Estonia...

}}
("foot"). The meters
Vedic meter
The verses of the Vedas have a variety of different meters. They are divided by number of padas in a verse, and by the number of syllables in a pada. Chandas , the study of Vedic meter, is one of the six Vedanga disciplines, or "organs of the vedas".*: 3 padas of 8 syllables-Principles:The main...

 most used in the {{IAST|ṛcas}} are the jagati (a pada consists of 12 syllables), trishtubh (11), viraj (10), gayatri
Gayatri
Gayatri is the feminine form of , a Sanskrit word for a song or a hymn. Gayatri is a consort of Brahma and the goddess of learning. Brahma married her when there was a need for a companion during a yajna. Brahma had to start the yajna along with his wife...

 and anushtubh (8).

For pedagogical convenience, each mandala is synthetically divided into roughly equal sections of several sūktas, called {{IAST|anuvāka}} ("recitation"), which modern publishers often omit. Another scheme divides the entire text over the 10 mandalas into {{IAST|aṣṭaka}} ("eighth"), {{IAST|adhyāya}} ("chapter") and {{IAST|varga}} ("class"). Some publishers give both classifications in a single edition.

The most common numbering scheme is by book, hymn and stanza (and pada a, b, c ..., if required). E.g., the first pada is
  • 1.1.1a {{IAST|agním īḷe puróhitaṃ}} "Agni I invoke, the housepriest"

and the final pada is
  • 10.191.4d {{IAST|yáthā vaḥ súsahā́sati}}

Recensions


The major Rigvedic shakha
Shakha
A shakha , is a Hindu theological school that specializes in learning certain Vedic texts, or else the traditional texts followed by such a school. An individual follower of a particular school or recension is called a ...

 ("branch", i. e. recension) that has survived is that of {{IAST|Śākalya}}. Another shakha that may have survived is the {{IAST|Bāṣkala}}, although this is uncertain. The surviving padapatha version of the Rigveda text is ascribed to Śākalya. The {{IAST|Śākala}} recension has 1,017 regular hymns, and an appendix of 11 {{IAST|vālakhilya}} hymns which are now customarily included in the 8th mandala (as 8.49–8.59), for a total of 1028 hymns. The {{IAST|Bāṣkala}} recension includes 8 of these {{IAST|vālakhilya}} hymns among its regular hymns, making a total of 1025 regular hymns for this śākhā. In addition, the {{IAST|Bāṣkala}} recension has its own appendix of 98 hymns, the Khilani
Khilani
The Khilani are a collection of 98 "apocryphal" hymns of the Rigveda, recorded in the , but not in the shakha. They are late additions to the text of the Rigveda, but still belong to the "Mantra" period of Vedic Sanskrit.-Literature:...

.

In the 1877 edition of Aufrecht, the 1028 hymns of the Rigveda contain a total of 10,552 {{IAST|ṛcs}}, or 39,831 padas. The Shatapatha Brahmana
Shatapatha Brahmana
The Shatapatha Brahmana is one of the prose texts describing the Vedic ritual, associated with the Shukla Yajurveda. It survives in two recensions, Madhyandina and Kanva , with the former having the eponymous 100 adhyayas,7624 kandikas in 14 books, and the latter 104 adhyayas,6806 kandikas in 17...

 gives the number of syllables to be 432,000, while the metrical text of van Nooten and Holland (1994) has a total of 395,563 syllables (or an average of 9.93 syllables per pada); counting the number of syllables is not straightforward because of issues with sandhi and the post-Rigvedic pronunciation of syllables like súvar as svàr.

Rishis


{{See also|Anukramani}}

Tradition associates a rishi
Rishi
Rishi denotes the composers of Vedic hymns. However, according to post-Vedic tradition, the rishi is a "seer" to whom the Vedas were "originally revealed" through states of higher consciousness. The rishis were prominent when Vedic Hinduism took shape, as far back as some three thousand years...

 (the composer) with each {{IAST|ṛc}} of the Rigveda. Most sūktas are attributed to single composers. The "family books" (2–7) are so-called because they have hymns by members of the same clan in each book; but other clans are also represented in the Rigveda. In all, 10 families of rishis account for more than 95% of the {{IAST|ṛcs}}; for each of them the Rigveda includes a lineage-specific {{IAST|āprī}} hymn (a special sūkta of rigidly formulaic structure, used for animal sacrifice in the soma
Soma
Soma , or Haoma , from Proto-Indo-Iranian *sauma-, was a ritual drink of importance among the early Indo-Iranians, and the subsequent Vedic and greater Persian cultures. It is frequently mentioned in the Rigveda, whose Soma Mandala contains 114 hymns, many praising its energizing qualities...

 ritual
Yajna
In Hinduism, yajna is a ritual of sacrifice derived from the practice of Vedic times. It is performed to please the gods or to attain certain wishes...

).
Family Āprī |Ṛcas}}
Angiras  I.142 3619 (especially Mandala 6
Mandala 6
The sixth Mandala of the Rig Veda has 75 hymns, mainly to Agni and Indra. Most hymns in this book are attributed to the family of Angirasas, especially to Bharadvaja...

)
Kanva  I.13 1315 (especially Mandala 8
Mandala 8
The eighth Mandala of the Rigveda has 103 hymns. Other than the "family books" and RV 1 and RV 10 , Mandala 8 cannot straightforwardly be dated as a whole relative to the other books, and its hymns may include both ancient and late...

)
Vasishtha  VII.2 1276 (Mandala 7
Mandala 7
The seventh Mandala of the Rigveda has 104 hymns. In the Rigveda Anukramani, all hymns in this book are attributed to Vasishta...

)
Vishvamitra  III.4 983 (Mandala 3
Mandala 3
The third Mandala of the Rigveda has 62 hymns, mainly to Agni and Indra. It is one of the "family books" , the oldest core of the Rigveda...

)
Atri
Atri
This article is about the sage named Attri. See also the gotra named Atri. For the Italian city, see Atri, AbruzzoIn Hinduism, Attri or Atri is a legendary bard and scholar and was one of 9 Prajapatis, and a son of Brahma, said to be ancestor of some Brahmin, Prajapatis, kshatriya and Vaishya...

 
V.5 885 (Mandala 5
Mandala 5
The fifth Mandala of the Rigveda has 87 hymns. Most hymns in this book are attributed to the family. The mandala is one of the "family books" , the oldest core of the Rigveda....

)
Bhrgu
Bhrigus
Maharishi Bhrigu was one of the seven great sages, the Saptarshis, in ancient India, one of the many Prajapatis created by Brahma , the first compiler of predictive astrology, and also the author of Bhrigu Samhita, the astrological classic written during the Vedic period, Treta yuga.Bhrigu is a...

 
X.110 473
Kashyapa  IX.5 415 (part of Mandala 9
Mandala 9
The ninth Mandala of the Rigveda, also called the Soma Mandala, has 114 hymns, entirely devoted to , "Purifying Soma", the sacred potion of the Vedic religion....

)
Grtsamada  II.3 401 (Mandala 2
Mandala 2
The second Mandala of the Rigveda has 43 hymns, mainly to Agni and Indra chiefly attributed to the Rishi The second Mandala of the [[Rigveda]] has 43 hymns, mainly to [[Agni]] and [[Indra]] chiefly attributed to the Rishi ...

)
Agastya
Agastya
Agastya was a Tamil/Vedic Siddhar or sage. Agastya and his clan are also generally credited with uncovering many mantras of the Rig Veda, the earliest and most revered Hindu scripture, in the sense of first having the mantras revealed in his mind by the Supreme Brahman...

 
I.188 316
Bharata  X.70 170

Manuscripts


There are, for example, 30 manuscripts of Rigveda at the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute
Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute
The Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute is located in Pune, Maharashtra, India. It was founded on July 6, 1917 to honor the life and work of Dr. Ramakrishna Gopal Bhandarkar , long regarded as the founder of Indology in India...

, collected in the 19th century by Georg Bühler
Georg Bühler
Professor Johann Georg Bühler was a scholar of ancient Indian languages and law.Bühler was born to Rev. Johann G...

, Franz Kielhorn and others, originating from different parts of India, including Kashmir
Kashmir
Kashmir is the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent. Until the mid-19th century, the term Kashmir geographically denoted only the valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal mountain range...

, Gujarat, the then Rajaputana, Central Provinces
Central Provinces
The Central Provinces was a province of British India. It comprised British conquests from the Mughals and Marathas in central India, and covered parts of present-day Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra states. Its capital was Nagpur....

 etc. They were transferred to Deccan College
Deccan College (Pune)
Deccan College Post-Graduate and Research Institute is a post-graduate institute of Archeology and Linguistics in Pune, India.Established October 6, 1821, Deccan College is one of the oldest institutions of modern learning in India...

, Pune
Pune
Pune , is the eighth largest metropolis in India, the second largest in the state of Maharashtra after Mumbai, and the largest city in the Western Ghats. Once the centre of power of the Maratha Empire, it is situated 560 metres above sea level on the Deccan plateau at the confluence of the Mula ...

, in the late 19th century. They are in the Sharada and Devanagari
Devanagari
Devanagari |deva]]" and "nāgarī" ), also called Nagari , is an abugida alphabet of India and Nepal...

 scripts, written on birch bark and paper. The oldest of them is dated to 1464. The 30 manuscripts of Rigveda preserved at the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute
Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute
The Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute is located in Pune, Maharashtra, India. It was founded on July 6, 1917 to honor the life and work of Dr. Ramakrishna Gopal Bhandarkar , long regarded as the founder of Indology in India...

, Pune
Pune
Pune , is the eighth largest metropolis in India, the second largest in the state of Maharashtra after Mumbai, and the largest city in the Western Ghats. Once the centre of power of the Maratha Empire, it is situated 560 metres above sea level on the Deccan plateau at the confluence of the Mula ...

 were added to UNESCO
UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

's "Memory of the World Register in 2007.

Of these 30 manuscripts, 9 contain the samhita text, 5 have the padapatha in addition. 13 contain Sayana's commentary. At least 5 manuscripts (MS. no. 1/A1879-80, 1/A1881-82, 331/1883-84 and 5/Viś I) have preserved the complete text of the Rigveda. MS no. 5/1875-76, written on birch bark in bold Sharada, was only in part used by Max Müller
Max Müller
Friedrich Max Müller , more regularly known as Max Müller, was a German philologist and Orientalist, one of the founders of the western academic field of Indian studies and the discipline of comparative religion...

 for his edition of the Rigveda with Sayana's commentary.

Müller used 24 manuscripts then available to him in Europe, while the Pune Edition used over five dozen manuscripts, but the editors of Pune Edition could not procure many manuscripts used by Müller and by the Bombay Edition, as well as from some other sources; hence the total number of extant manuscripts known then must surpass perhaps eighty at least

Contents


{{See also|Rigvedic deities}}
The Rigvedic hymns are dedicated to various deities, chief of whom are Indra
Indra
' or is the King of the demi-gods or Devas and Lord of Heaven or Svargaloka in Hindu mythology. He is also the God of War, Storms, and Rainfall.Indra is one of the chief deities in the Rigveda...

, a heroic god praised for having slain his enemy Vrtra; Agni
Agni
Agni is a Hindu deity, one of the most important of the Vedic gods. He is the god of fire and the acceptor of sacrifices. The sacrifices made to Agni go to the deities because Agni is a messenger from and to the other gods...

, the sacrificial fire; and Soma
Soma
Soma , or Haoma , from Proto-Indo-Iranian *sauma-, was a ritual drink of importance among the early Indo-Iranians, and the subsequent Vedic and greater Persian cultures. It is frequently mentioned in the Rigveda, whose Soma Mandala contains 114 hymns, many praising its energizing qualities...

, the sacred potion or the plant it is made from. Equally prominent gods are the Adityas
Ādityas
In Hinduism, Āditya , meaning "of or related to Aditi", refers to the offsprings of Aditi. Adityas are solar class deities. In later Hinduism, Aditya is used in the singular to mean the sun.-Vedas:...

 or Asura gods Mitra
Mitra (Vedic)
This article is about the Vedic deity Mitra. For other divinities with related names, see the general article Mitra.Mitra is an important divinity of Indic culture, and the patron divinity of honesty, friendship, contracts and meetings...

Varuna
Varuna
In Vedic religion, Varuna is a god of the sky, of water and of the celestial ocean, as well as a god of law and of the underworld...

 and Ushas
Ushas
Ushas , Sanskrit for "dawn", is a Vedic deity, and consequently a Hindu deity as well.Sanskrit is an s-stem, i.e. the genitive case is . It is from PIE , cognate to Greek Eos and Latin Aurora....

 (the dawn). Also invoked are Savitr
Savitr
Savitr IAST: savitrIn Vedic religion, Savitr , Savitā is a solar deity and one of the Adityas i.e. off-spring of Vedic deity Aditi. His name in Vedic Sanskrit connotes "impeller, rouser, vivifier"...

, Vishnu
Vishnu
Vishnu is the Supreme god in the Vaishnavite tradition of Hinduism. Smarta followers of Adi Shankara, among others, venerate Vishnu as one of the five primary forms of God....

, Rudra
Rudra
' is a Rigvedic God, associated with wind or storm, and the hunt. The name has been translated as "The Roarer", or "The Howler"....

, Pushan
Pushan
Pushan is a Vedic solar deity and one of the Adityas. He is the god of meeting. Pushan was responsible for marriages, journeys, roads, and the feeding of cattle. He was a psychopomp, conducting souls to the other world. He protected travelers from bandits and wild beasts, and protected men from...

, Brihaspati
Brihaspati
Bṛhaspati also known as Brahmanaspati and Deva-guru , is the name of a Vedic deity...

 or Brahmanaspati, as well as deified natural phenomena such as Dyaus Pita
Dyaus Pita
In the Vedic pantheon ' or ' or Dyaus Pitar is the Sky Father, divine consort of the Prithvi and father of Agni, Indra , and Ushas, the daughter representing dawn. In archaic Vedic lore, Dyauṣ Pitṛ and Prithivi Matṛ were one, single composite dvandva entity, named as the Dyavaprthivi...

 (the shining sky, Father Heaven ), Prithivi (the earth, Mother Earth), Surya
Surya
Surya Suraya or Phra Athit is the chief solar deity in Hinduism, one of the Adityas, son of Kasyapa and one of his wives, Aditi; of Indra; or of Dyaus Pitar . The term Surya also refers to the Sun, in general. Surya has hair and arms of gold...

 (the sun god), Vayu
Vayu
Vāyu is a primary Hindu deity, the Lord of the winds, the father of Bhima and the spiritual father of Lord Hanuman...

 or Vata (the wind), Apas
Ap (water)
Ap is the Vedic Sanskrit term for "water", in Classical Sanskrit occurring only in the plural, , whence Hindi . The term is from PIE hxap "water"....

 (the waters), Parjanya
Parjanya
Parjanya, according to the 1965 Sanskrit–English dictionary by Shri Vaman Shivram Apte gives the following meanings:* Rain-cloud, thunder cloud, a cloud in general* Rain...

 (the thunder and rain), Vac
VAC
VAC or Vac may refer to:In arts and entertainment* Velvet Acid Christ, an industrial band* Video Appeals Committee in the United Kingdom, responsible for hearing appeals against decisions by the British Board of Film Classification...

 (the word), many rivers
Rigvedic rivers
Rivers, such as the Sapta Sindhu , play a prominent part in the hymns of the Rigveda, and consequently in early Vedic religion...

 (notably the Sapta Sindhu, and the Sarasvati River
Sarasvati River
The Sarasvati River is one of the chief Rigvedic rivers mentioned in ancient Hindu texts. The Nadistuti hymn in the Rigveda mentions the Sarasvati between the Yamuna in the east and the Sutlej in the west, and later Vedic texts like Tandya and Jaiminiya Brahmanas as well as the Mahabharata...

). The Adityas
Ādityas
In Hinduism, Āditya , meaning "of or related to Aditi", refers to the offsprings of Aditi. Adityas are solar class deities. In later Hinduism, Aditya is used in the singular to mean the sun.-Vedas:...

, Vasus, Rudras, Sadhyas, Ashvins
Ashvins
The Ashvins , in Hindu mythology, are divine twin horsemen in the Rigveda, sons of Saranya , a goddess of the clouds and wife of Surya in his form as Vivasvat. The Ashvins are Vedic gods symbolising the shining of sunrise and sunset, appearing in the sky before the dawn in a golden chariot,...

, Maruts
Maruts
In Hinduism the Marutas , also known as the Marutagana and sometimes identified with Rudras, are storm deities and sons of Rudra and Diti and attendants of Indra. The number of Maruts varies from two to sixty . They are very violent and aggressive, described as armed with golden weapons i.e...

, Rbhus
Rbhus
The Ribhus are three semi-divine beings of the Rigveda and the Atharvaveda, Ribhu, Vaja and Vibhvan, collectively called by the name of their leader. In later Hindu mythology , Ribhu is a son of Brahma....

, and the Vishvadevas ("all-gods") as well as the "thirty-three gods" are the groups of deities mentioned.

The hymns mention various further minor gods, persons, phenomena and items, and contain fragmentary references to possible historical events, notably the struggle between the early Vedic people (known as Vedic Aryans, a subgroup of the Indo-Aryans
Indo-Aryans
Indo-Aryan is an ethno-linguistic term referring to the wide collection of peoples united as native speakers of the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-Iranian family of Indo-European languages...

) and their enemies, the Dasa
Dasa
Dasa is a term used with the primary meaning 'enemy', especially relating to tribes identified as the enemies of the Indo-Aryan tribes in the Rigveda....

 or Dasyu and their mythical prototypes, the Paṇi (the Bactrian Parna).

  • Mandala 1
    Mandala 1
    The first Mandala of the Rigveda has 191 hymns. Together with Mandala 10, it forms the latest part of the Rigveda, its composition likely dating to the Early Iron Age....

     comprises 191 hymns. Hymn 1.1 is addressed to Agni
    Agni
    Agni is a Hindu deity, one of the most important of the Vedic gods. He is the god of fire and the acceptor of sacrifices. The sacrifices made to Agni go to the deities because Agni is a messenger from and to the other gods...

    , and his name is the first word of the Rigveda. The remaining hymns are mainly addressed to Agni and Indra
    Indra
    ' or is the King of the demi-gods or Devas and Lord of Heaven or Svargaloka in Hindu mythology. He is also the God of War, Storms, and Rainfall.Indra is one of the chief deities in the Rigveda...

    , as well as Varuna, Mitra, the Ashvins, the Maruts, Usas, Surya, Rbhus, Rudra, Vayu, Brhaspati, Visnu, Heaven and Earth, and all the Gods.
  • Mandala 2
    Mandala 2
    The second Mandala of the Rigveda has 43 hymns, mainly to Agni and Indra chiefly attributed to the Rishi The second Mandala of the [[Rigveda]] has 43 hymns, mainly to [[Agni]] and [[Indra]] chiefly attributed to the Rishi ...

     comprises 43 hymns, mainly to Agni
    Agni
    Agni is a Hindu deity, one of the most important of the Vedic gods. He is the god of fire and the acceptor of sacrifices. The sacrifices made to Agni go to the deities because Agni is a messenger from and to the other gods...

     and Indra
    Indra
    ' or is the King of the demi-gods or Devas and Lord of Heaven or Svargaloka in Hindu mythology. He is also the God of War, Storms, and Rainfall.Indra is one of the chief deities in the Rigveda...

    . It is chiefly attributed to the Rishi {{IAST|gṛtsamada śaunahotra}}.
  • Mandala 3
    Mandala 3
    The third Mandala of the Rigveda has 62 hymns, mainly to Agni and Indra. It is one of the "family books" , the oldest core of the Rigveda...

     comprises 62 hymns, mainly to Agni
    Agni
    Agni is a Hindu deity, one of the most important of the Vedic gods. He is the god of fire and the acceptor of sacrifices. The sacrifices made to Agni go to the deities because Agni is a messenger from and to the other gods...

     and Indra
    Indra
    ' or is the King of the demi-gods or Devas and Lord of Heaven or Svargaloka in Hindu mythology. He is also the God of War, Storms, and Rainfall.Indra is one of the chief deities in the Rigveda...

     and the Vishvedevas. The verse 3.62.10 has great importance in Hinduism
    Hinduism
    Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

     as the Gayatri Mantra
    Gayatri Mantra
    The Gāyatrī Mantra is a highly revered mantra, based on a Vedic Sanskrit verse from a hymn of the Rigveda , attributed to the rishi . The mantra is named for its vedic gāyatrī metre. As the verse can be interpreted to invoke the deva Savitr, it is often called Sāvitrī...

    . Most hymns in this book are attributed to {{IAST|viśvāmitra gāthinaḥ}}.
  • Mandala 4
    Mandala 4
    The fourth Mandala of the Rigveda has 58 hymns, mainly to Agni and Indra. It is one of the "family books" , the oldest core of the Rigveda....

     comprises 58 hymns, mainly to Agni
    Agni
    Agni is a Hindu deity, one of the most important of the Vedic gods. He is the god of fire and the acceptor of sacrifices. The sacrifices made to Agni go to the deities because Agni is a messenger from and to the other gods...

     and Indra
    Indra
    ' or is the King of the demi-gods or Devas and Lord of Heaven or Svargaloka in Hindu mythology. He is also the God of War, Storms, and Rainfall.Indra is one of the chief deities in the Rigveda...

     as well as the Rbhus, Ashvins, Brhaspati, Vayu, Usas, etc. Most hymns in this book are attributed to {{IAST|vāmadeva gautama}}.
  • Mandala 5
    Mandala 5
    The fifth Mandala of the Rigveda has 87 hymns. Most hymns in this book are attributed to the family. The mandala is one of the "family books" , the oldest core of the Rigveda....

     comprises 87 hymns, mainly to Agni
    Agni
    Agni is a Hindu deity, one of the most important of the Vedic gods. He is the god of fire and the acceptor of sacrifices. The sacrifices made to Agni go to the deities because Agni is a messenger from and to the other gods...

     and Indra
    Indra
    ' or is the King of the demi-gods or Devas and Lord of Heaven or Svargaloka in Hindu mythology. He is also the God of War, Storms, and Rainfall.Indra is one of the chief deities in the Rigveda...

    , the Visvedevas
    Visvedevas
    The Visvedevas are the various Vedic gods taken together as a whole. In the Rigveda a number of hymns are addressed to them, including 1.89,3.54-56,4.55,5.41-51,6.49-52,7.34-37, 39, 40, 42, 43,8.27-30, 58, 83...

     ("all the gods'), the Maruts
    Maruts
    In Hinduism the Marutas , also known as the Marutagana and sometimes identified with Rudras, are storm deities and sons of Rudra and Diti and attendants of Indra. The number of Maruts varies from two to sixty . They are very violent and aggressive, described as armed with golden weapons i.e...

    , the twin-deity Mitra-Varuna
    Mitra-Varuna
    Mitra and Varuna are two deities frequently referred to in the ancient Indian scripture of the Rigveda. They are both considered Adityas, or deities connected with the Sun; and they are protectors of the righteous order of rta...

     and the Asvins. Two hymns each are dedicated to Ushas
    Ushas
    Ushas , Sanskrit for "dawn", is a Vedic deity, and consequently a Hindu deity as well.Sanskrit is an s-stem, i.e. the genitive case is . It is from PIE , cognate to Greek Eos and Latin Aurora....

     (the dawn) and to Savitr
    Savitr
    Savitr IAST: savitrIn Vedic religion, Savitr , Savitā is a solar deity and one of the Adityas i.e. off-spring of Vedic deity Aditi. His name in Vedic Sanskrit connotes "impeller, rouser, vivifier"...

    . Most hymns in this book are attributed to the {{IAST|atri}} clan.
  • Mandala 6
    Mandala 6
    The sixth Mandala of the Rig Veda has 75 hymns, mainly to Agni and Indra. Most hymns in this book are attributed to the family of Angirasas, especially to Bharadvaja...

     comprises 75 hymns, mainly to Agni
    Agni
    Agni is a Hindu deity, one of the most important of the Vedic gods. He is the god of fire and the acceptor of sacrifices. The sacrifices made to Agni go to the deities because Agni is a messenger from and to the other gods...

     and Indra
    Indra
    ' or is the King of the demi-gods or Devas and Lord of Heaven or Svargaloka in Hindu mythology. He is also the God of War, Storms, and Rainfall.Indra is one of the chief deities in the Rigveda...

    , all the gods, Pusan, Ashvin, Usas, etc. Most hymns in this book are attributed to the {{IAST|bārhaspatya}} family of Angirasas.
  • Mandala 7
    Mandala 7
    The seventh Mandala of the Rigveda has 104 hymns. In the Rigveda Anukramani, all hymns in this book are attributed to Vasishta...

     comprises 104 hymns, to Agni
    Agni
    Agni is a Hindu deity, one of the most important of the Vedic gods. He is the god of fire and the acceptor of sacrifices. The sacrifices made to Agni go to the deities because Agni is a messenger from and to the other gods...

    , Indra
    Indra
    ' or is the King of the demi-gods or Devas and Lord of Heaven or Svargaloka in Hindu mythology. He is also the God of War, Storms, and Rainfall.Indra is one of the chief deities in the Rigveda...

    , the Visvadevas, the Maruts
    Maruts
    In Hinduism the Marutas , also known as the Marutagana and sometimes identified with Rudras, are storm deities and sons of Rudra and Diti and attendants of Indra. The number of Maruts varies from two to sixty . They are very violent and aggressive, described as armed with golden weapons i.e...

    , Mitra-Varuna
    Mitra-Varuna
    Mitra and Varuna are two deities frequently referred to in the ancient Indian scripture of the Rigveda. They are both considered Adityas, or deities connected with the Sun; and they are protectors of the righteous order of rta...

    , the Asvins, Ushas
    Ushas
    Ushas , Sanskrit for "dawn", is a Vedic deity, and consequently a Hindu deity as well.Sanskrit is an s-stem, i.e. the genitive case is . It is from PIE , cognate to Greek Eos and Latin Aurora....

    , Indra-Varuna, Varuna
    Varuna
    In Vedic religion, Varuna is a god of the sky, of water and of the celestial ocean, as well as a god of law and of the underworld...

    , Vayu
    Vayu
    Vāyu is a primary Hindu deity, the Lord of the winds, the father of Bhima and the spiritual father of Lord Hanuman...

     (the wind), two each to Sarasvati (ancient river/goddess of learning) and Vishnu
    Vishnu
    Vishnu is the Supreme god in the Vaishnavite tradition of Hinduism. Smarta followers of Adi Shankara, among others, venerate Vishnu as one of the five primary forms of God....

    , and to others. Most hymns in this book are attributed to {{IAST|vasiṣṭha maitravaruṇi}}.
  • Mandala 8
    Mandala 8
    The eighth Mandala of the Rigveda has 103 hymns. Other than the "family books" and RV 1 and RV 10 , Mandala 8 cannot straightforwardly be dated as a whole relative to the other books, and its hymns may include both ancient and late...

     comprises 103 hymns to various gods. Hymns 8.49 to 8.59 are the apocryphal {{IAST|vālakhilya}}. Hymns 1–48 and 60–66 are attributed to the {{IAST|kāṇva}} clan, the rest to other (Angirasa) poets.
  • Mandala 9
    Mandala 9
    The ninth Mandala of the Rigveda, also called the Soma Mandala, has 114 hymns, entirely devoted to , "Purifying Soma", the sacred potion of the Vedic religion....

     comprises 114 hymns, entirely devoted to Soma
    Soma
    Soma , or Haoma , from Proto-Indo-Iranian *sauma-, was a ritual drink of importance among the early Indo-Iranians, and the subsequent Vedic and greater Persian cultures. It is frequently mentioned in the Rigveda, whose Soma Mandala contains 114 hymns, many praising its energizing qualities...

     Pavamana
    , the cleansing of the sacred potion of the Vedic religion.
  • Mandala 10
    Mandala 10
    The tenth Mandala of the Rigveda has 191 hymns. Together with Mandala 1, it forms the latest part of the Rigveda, containing much mythological material, including the Purusha sukta and the dialogue of Sarama with the Panis , and notably containing several dialogue hymns...

     comprises additional 191 hymns, frequently in later language, addressed to Agni
    Agni
    Agni is a Hindu deity, one of the most important of the Vedic gods. He is the god of fire and the acceptor of sacrifices. The sacrifices made to Agni go to the deities because Agni is a messenger from and to the other gods...

    , Indra
    Indra
    ' or is the King of the demi-gods or Devas and Lord of Heaven or Svargaloka in Hindu mythology. He is also the God of War, Storms, and Rainfall.Indra is one of the chief deities in the Rigveda...

     and various other deities. It contains the Nadistuti sukta
    Nadistuti sukta
    The Nadistuti sukta ,"hymn of praise of rivers", is hymn 10.75 of the Rigveda.It is important for the reconstruction of the geography of the Vedic civilization...

     which is in praise of rivers and is important for the reconstruction of the geography of the Vedic civilization and the Purusha sukta
    Purusha sukta
    Purusha sukta is hymn 10.90 of the Rigveda, dedicated to the Purusha, the "Cosmic Being". One version of the Suktam has 16 verses, 15 in the meter, and the final one in the meter...

     which has great significance in Hindu social tradition. It also contains the Nasadiya sukta
    Nasadiya Sukta
    The Nasadiya Sukta is the 129th hymn of the 10th Mandala of the Rigveda. It is concerned with cosmology and the origin of the universe. It is known for its skepticism...

     (10.129), probably the most celebrated hymn in the west, which deals with creation. The marriage hymns (10.85) and the death hymns (10.10–18) still are of great importance in the performance of the corresponding Grhya rituals.

Dating and historical context


The Rigveda's core is accepted to date to the late Bronze Age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

, making it one of the few examples with an unbroken tradition. Its composition is usually dated to roughly between 1700–1100 BC. The Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture
Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture
The Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture is an encyclopedia of Indo-European studies and the Proto-Indo-Europeans. The encyclopedia was edited by J. P. Mallory and Douglas Q. Adams and published in 1997 by Fitzroy Dearborn...

 (s.v. Indo-Iranian languages
Indo-Iranian languages
The Indo-Iranian language group constitutes the easternmost extant branch of the Indo-European family of languages. It consists of three language groups: the Indo-Aryan, Iranian and Nuristani...

, p. 306) gives 1500–1000.
Being composed in an early Indo-Aryan language, the hymns must post-date the Indo-Iranian separation, dated to roughly 2000 BC. A reasonable date close to that of the composition of the core of the Rigveda is that of the Indo-Aryan Mitanni documents of c. 1400 BC. Other evidence also points to a composition close to 1400 BC

The Rigveda is far more archaic than any other Indo-Aryan text. For this reason, it was in the center of attention of western scholarship from the times of Max Müller
Max Müller
Friedrich Max Müller , more regularly known as Max Müller, was a German philologist and Orientalist, one of the founders of the western academic field of Indian studies and the discipline of comparative religion...

 and Rudolf Roth
Rudolf Roth
Rudolf von Roth was a German Indologist, founder of the Vedic philology. His chief work is a monumental Sanskrit dictionary, compiled in collaboration with Otto von Böhtlingk.-Biography:He was educated at the universities of Tübingen and Berlin...

 onwards. The Rigveda records an early stage of Vedic religion
Historical Vedic religion
The religion of the Vedic period is a historical predecessor of Hinduism. Its liturgy is reflected in the mantra portion of the four Vedas, which are compiled in Sanskrit. The religious practices centered on a clergy administering rites...

. There are strong linguistic and cultural similarities with the early Iranian Avesta
Avesta
The Avesta is the primary collection of sacred texts of Zoroastrianism, composed in the Avestan language.-Early transmission:The texts of the Avesta — which are all in the Avestan language — were composed over the course of several hundred years. The most important portion, the Gathas,...

, deriving from the Proto-Indo-Iranian
Proto-Indo-Iranian language
Proto-Indo-Iranian is the reconstructed proto-language of the Indo-Iranian branch of Indo-European. Its speakers, the hypothetical Proto-Indo-Iranians, are assumed to have lived in the late 3rd millennium BC, and are usually connected with the early Andronovo archaeological...

 times, often associated with the early Andronovo culture
Andronovo culture
The Andronovo culture, is a collection of similar local Bronze Age cultures that flourished ca. 21200–1400 BCE in western Siberia and the west Asiatic steppe. It is probably better termed an archaeological complex or archaeological horizon...

 of ca. 2000 BC.

The text in the following centuries underwent pronunciation revisions and standardization (samhitapatha, padapatha). This redaction would have been completed around the 6th century BC. Exact dates are not established, but they fall within the pre-Buddhist period (500, or rather 400 BC).

Writing appears in India around the 3rd century BC in the form of the Brahmi
Brāhmī script
Brāhmī is the modern name given to the oldest members of the Brahmic family of scripts. The best-known Brāhmī inscriptions are the rock-cut edicts of Ashoka in north-central India, dated to the 3rd century BCE. These are traditionally considered to be early known examples of Brāhmī writing...

 script, but texts of the length of the Rigveda were likely not written down until much later, the oldest surviving Rigvedic manuscript dating to the 14th century.{{Dubious|date=May 2009}} While written manuscripts were used for teaching in medieval times, they were written on birch bark or palm leaves, which decompose fairly quickly in the tropical climate, until the advent of the printing press
Printing press
A printing press is a device for applying pressure to an inked surface resting upon a print medium , thereby transferring the ink...

 from the 16th{{Dubious|date=May 2009}} century. Some Rigveda commentaries may date from the second half of the first millennium CE. The hymns were thus preserved by oral tradition
Oral tradition
Oral tradition and oral lore is cultural material and traditions transmitted orally from one generation to another. The messages or testimony are verbally transmitted in speech or song and may take the form, for example, of folktales, sayings, ballads, songs, or chants...

 for up to a millennium from the time of their composition until the redaction of the Rigveda, and the entire Rigveda was preserved in shakha
Shakha
A shakha , is a Hindu theological school that specializes in learning certain Vedic texts, or else the traditional texts followed by such a school. An individual follower of a particular school or recension is called a ...

s for another 2,500 years from the time of its redaction until the editio princeps by Rosen, Aufrecht and Max Müller.

After their composition, the texts were preserved and codified by an extensive body of Vedic priesthood
Vedic priesthood
Priests of the Vedic religion were officiants of the yajna service. As persons trained for the ritual and proficient in its practice, they were called '...

 as the central philosophy of the Iron Age Vedic civilization. The Brahma Purana
Brahma Purana
The Brahma Purana is one of the major eighteen Mahapuranas, a genre of Hindu religious texts. The extant text comprises 246 chapters. It is divided into two parts, namely the Purvabhaga and the Uttarabhaga . The first part narrates the story behind the creation of the cosmos, details the life and...

 and the Vayu Purana
Vayu Purana
The Vayu Purana is a Shaiva Purana, a Hindu religious text, dedicated to the god Vayu , containing about 24,000 shlokas.-Date:Banabhatta refers to this work in his Kadambari and Harshacharita...

 name one Vidagdha as the author of the Padapatha. The Rk-pratishakhya names Sthavira Shakalya of the Aitareya Aranyaka as its author.

The Rigveda describes a mobile, semi-nomad
Nomad
Nomadic people , commonly known as itinerants in modern-day contexts, are communities of people who move from one place to another, rather than settling permanently in one location. There are an estimated 30-40 million nomads in the world. Many cultures have traditionally been nomadic, but...

ic culture, with horse-drawn chariot
Chariot
The chariot is a type of horse carriage used in both peace and war as the chief vehicle of many ancient peoples. Ox carts, proto-chariots, were built by the Proto-Indo-Europeans and also built in Mesopotamia as early as 3000 BC. The original horse chariot was a fast, light, open, two wheeled...

s, oxen-drawn wagons, and metal (bronze) weapons. The geography described is consistent with that of the Greater Punjab
Punjab region
The Punjab , also spelled Panjab |water]]s"), is a geographical region straddling the border between Pakistan and India which includes Punjab province in Pakistan and the states of the Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh and some northern parts of the National Capital Territory of Delhi...

: Rivers
Rigvedic rivers
Rivers, such as the Sapta Sindhu , play a prominent part in the hymns of the Rigveda, and consequently in early Vedic religion...

 flow north to south, the mountains are relatively remote but still visible and reachable (Soma
Soma
Soma , or Haoma , from Proto-Indo-Iranian *sauma-, was a ritual drink of importance among the early Indo-Iranians, and the subsequent Vedic and greater Persian cultures. It is frequently mentioned in the Rigveda, whose Soma Mandala contains 114 hymns, many praising its energizing qualities...

 is a plant found in the high mountains, and it has to be purchased from tribal people). Nevertheless, the hymns were certainly composed over a long period, with the oldest (not preserved) elements possibly reaching back to times close to the split of Proto-Indo-Iranian (around 2000 BC) Thus there was some debate over whether the boasts of the destruction of stone forts by the Vedic Aryans and particularly by Indra refer to cities of the Indus Valley civilization
Indus Valley Civilization
The Indus Valley Civilization was a Bronze Age civilization that was located in the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent, consisting of what is now mainly modern-day Pakistan and northwest India...

 or whether they rather hark back to clashes between the early Indo-Aryans
Indo-Aryans
Indo-Aryan is an ethno-linguistic term referring to the wide collection of peoples united as native speakers of the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-Iranian family of Indo-European languages...

 with the BMAC in what is now northern Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 and southern Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan , formerly also known as Turkmenia is one of the Turkic states in Central Asia. Until 1991, it was a constituent republic of the Soviet Union, the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic . Turkmenistan is one of the six independent Turkic states...

 (separated from the upper Indus
Indus River
The Indus River is a major river which flows through Pakistan. It also has courses through China and India.Originating in the Tibetan plateau of western China in the vicinity of Lake Mansarovar in Tibet Autonomous Region, the river runs a course through the Ladakh district of Jammu and Kashmir and...

 by the Hindu Kush
Hindu Kush
The Hindu Kush is an mountain range that stretches between central Afghanistan and northern Pakistan. The highest point in the Hindu Kush is Tirich Mir in the Chitral region of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan.It is the westernmost extension of the Pamir Mountains, the Karakoram Range, and is a...

 mountain range, and some 400 km distant).

While it is highly likely that the bulk of the Rigvedic hymns were composed in the Punjab, even if based on earlier poetic traditions, there is no mention of either tiger
Tiger
The tiger is the largest cat species, reaching a total body length of up to and weighing up to . Their most recognizable feature is a pattern of dark vertical stripes on reddish-orange fur with lighter underparts...

s or rice
Rice
Rice is the seed of the monocot plants Oryza sativa or Oryza glaberrima . As a cereal grain, it is the most important staple food for a large part of the world's human population, especially in East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and the West Indies...

 in the Rigveda (as opposed to the later Vedas), suggesting that Vedic culture only penetrated into the plains of India after its completion. Similarly, there is no mention of iron
Iron
Iron is a chemical element with the symbol Fe and atomic number 26. It is a metal in the first transition series. It is the most common element forming the planet Earth as a whole, forming much of Earth's outer and inner core. It is the fourth most common element in the Earth's crust...

 as the term ayas occurring in the Rig Veda refers to useful metal in general. The "black metal" ({{IAST|kṛṣṇa ayas}}) is first mentioned in the post-Rigvedic texts (Atharvaveda etc.). The Iron Age in northern India begins in the 10th century in the Greater Panjab. There is a widely accepted timeframe for the beginning codification of the Rigveda by compiling the hymns very late in the Rigvedic or rather in the early post-Rigvedic period, including the arrangement of the individual hymns in ten books, coeval with and the composition of the younger Veda Samhitas. This time coincides with the early Kuru kingdom, shifting the center of Vedic culture east from the Punjab into what is now Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh abbreviation U.P. , is a state located in the northern part of India. With a population of over 200 million people, it is India's most populous state, as well as the world's most populous sub-national entity...

. The fixing of the samhitapatha (by keeping Sandhi
Sandhi
Sandhi is a cover term for a wide variety of phonological processes that occur at morpheme or word boundaries . Examples include the fusion of sounds across word boundaries and the alteration of sounds due to neighboring sounds or due to the grammatical function of adjacent words...

) intact and of the padapatha (by dissolving Sandhi out of the earlier metrical text), occurred during the later Brahmana period.

Some of the names of gods and goddesses
Rigvedic deities
There are 1028 hymns in the Rigveda, most of them dedicated to specific deities.Indra, a heroic god, slayer of Vrtra and destroyer of the Vala, liberator of the cows and the rivers; Agni the sacrificial fire and messenger of the gods; and Soma the ritual drink dedicated to Indra are the most...

 found in the Rigveda are found amongst other belief systems based on Proto-Indo-European religion
Proto-Indo-European religion
Proto-Indo-European religion is the hypothesized religion of the Proto-Indo-European peoples based on the existence of similarities among the deities, religious practices and mythologies of the Indo-European peoples. Reconstruction of the hypotheses below is based on linguistic evidence using the...

, while words used share common roots
Proto-Indo-European root
The roots of the reconstructed Proto-Indo-European language are basic parts of words that carry a lexical meaning, so-called morphemes. PIE roots always have verbal meaning like "to eat" or "to run", as opposed to nouns , adjectives , or other parts of speech. Roots never occur alone in the language...

 with words from other Indo-European languages
Indo-European languages
The Indo-European languages are a family of several hundred related languages and dialects, including most major current languages of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and South Asia and also historically predominant in Anatolia...

.

The horse
Horse
The horse is one of two extant subspecies of Equus ferus, or the wild horse. It is a single-hooved mammal belonging to the taxonomic family Equidae. The horse has evolved over the past 45 to 55 million years from a small multi-toed creature into the large, single-toed animal of today...

 (ashva
Ashva
Aśvaḥ is the Sanskrit word for a "horse", one of the significant animals finding references in the Vedas as well as later Hindu scriptures. The corresponding Avestan term is aspa...

), cattle
Cattle
Cattle are the most common type of large domesticated ungulates. They are a prominent modern member of the subfamily Bovinae, are the most widespread species of the genus Bos, and are most commonly classified collectively as Bos primigenius...

, sheep and goat play an important role in the Rigveda. There are also references to the elephant
Elephant
Elephants are large land mammals in two extant genera of the family Elephantidae: Elephas and Loxodonta, with the third genus Mammuthus extinct...

 (Hastin
Hastin
Hastin is a term for elephant used in Vedic texts. Other terms for elephant include ibha and varana.- The elephant in the Rigveda :In Rig Veda 1.84.17 and 4.4.1. and probably other instances the Rig Veda seems to refer to elephants , an animal that is native to South Asia...

, Varana), camel
Camel
A camel is an even-toed ungulate within the genus Camelus, bearing distinctive fatty deposits known as humps on its back. There are two species of camels: the dromedary or Arabian camel has a single hump, and the bactrian has two humps. Dromedaries are native to the dry desert areas of West Asia,...

 (Ustra, especially in Mandala 8
Mandala 8
The eighth Mandala of the Rigveda has 103 hymns. Other than the "family books" and RV 1 and RV 10 , Mandala 8 cannot straightforwardly be dated as a whole relative to the other books, and its hymns may include both ancient and late...

), ass (khara, rasabha), buffalo (Mahisa), wolf, hyena
Hyena
Hyenas or Hyaenas are the animals of the family Hyaenidae of suborder feliforms of the Carnivora. It is the fourth smallest biological family in the Carnivora , and one of the smallest in the mammalia...

, lion
Lion
The lion is one of the four big cats in the genus Panthera, and a member of the family Felidae. With some males exceeding 250 kg in weight, it is the second-largest living cat after the tiger...

 (Simha), mountain goat (sarabha) and to the gaur
Gaur
The gaur , also called Indian bison, is a large bovine native to South Asia and Southeast Asia. The species is listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List since 1986 as the population decline in parts of the species' range is likely to be well over 70% over the last three generations...

 in the Rigveda. The peafowl
Peafowl
Peafowl are two Asiatic species of flying birds in the genus Pavo of the pheasant family, Phasianidae, best known for the male's extravagant eye-spotted tail, which it displays as part of courtship. The male is called a peacock, the female a peahen, and the offspring peachicks. The adult female...

 (mayura), the goose (hamsa) and the chakravaka (Anas casarca) are some birds mentioned in the Rigveda.

Rigveda Brahmanas


{{See also|Brahmana}}
Of the Brahmanas that were handed down in the schools of the {{IAST|Bahvṛcas}} (i.e. "possessed of many verses"), as the followers of the Rigveda are called, two have come down to us, namely those of the Aitareyins and the Kaushitakins. The Aitareya-brahmana and the Kaushitaki- (or Sankhayana-) brahmana evidently have for their groundwork the same stock of traditional exegetic matter. They differ, however, considerably as regards both the arrangement of this matter and their stylistic handling of it, with the exception of the numerous legends common to both, in which the discrepancy is comparatively slight. There is also a certain amount of material peculiar to each of them.

The Kaushitaka is, upon the whole, far more concise in its style and more systematic in its arrangement features which would lead one to infer that it is probably the more modern work of the two. It consists of thirty chapters (adhyaya); while the Aitareya has forty, divided into eight books (or pentads, pancaka), of five chapters each. The last ten adhyayas of the latter work are, however, clearly a later addition though they must have already formed part of it at the time of Pāṇini (ca. 5th c. BC), if, as seems probable, one of his grammatical sutras, regulating the formation of the names of Brahmanas, consisting of thirty and forty adhyayas, refers to these two works. In this last portion occurs the well-known legend (also found in the Shankhayana-sutra, but not in the Kaushitaki-brahmana) of Shunahshepa, whom his father Ajigarta sells and offers to slay, the recital of which formed part of the inauguration of kings.

While the Aitareya deals almost exclusively with the Soma sacrifice, the Kaushitaka, in its first six chapters, treats of the several kinds of haviryajna, or offerings of rice, milk, ghee, &c., whereupon follows the Soma sacrifice in this way, that chapters 7–10 contain the practical ceremonial and 11–30 the recitations (shastra) of the hotar. Sayana, in the introduction to his commentary on the work, ascribes the Aitareya to the sage Mahidasa Aitareya (i.e. son of Itara), also mentioned elsewhere as a philosopher; and it seems likely enough that this person arranged the Brahmana and founded the school of the Aitareyins. Regarding the authorship of the sister work we have no information, except that the opinion of the sage Kaushitaki is frequently referred to in it as authoritative, and generally in opposition to the Paingya—the Brahmana, it would seem, of a rival school, the Paingins. Probably, therefore, it is just what one of the manuscripts calls it—the Brahmana of Sankhayana (composed) in accordance with the views of Kaushitaki.

Rigveda Aranyakas


{{See also|Aranyaka}}
Each of these two Brahmanas is supplemented by a "forest book", or Aranyaka
Aranyaka
The Aranyakas are part of the Hindu śruti, the four Vedas; they were composed in late Vedic Sanskrit typical of the Brahmanas and early Upanishads; indeed, they frequently form part of either the Brahmanas or the Upanishads....

. The Aitareyaranyaka is not a uniform production. It consists of five books (aranyaka), three of which, the first and the last two, are of a liturgical nature, treating of the ceremony called mahavrata, or great vow. The last of these books, composed in sutra form, is, however, doubtless of later origin, and is, indeed, ascribed by Hindu authorities either to Shaunaka or to Ashvalayana. The second and third books, on the other hand, are purely speculative, and are also styled the Bahvrca-brahmana-upanishad. Again, the last four chapters of the second book are usually singled out as the Aitareyopanishad, ascribed, like its Brahmana (and the first book), to Mahidasa Aitareya; and the third book is also referred to as the Samhita-upanishad. As regards the Kaushitaki-aranyaka, this work consists of 15 adhyayas, the first two (treating of the mahavrata ceremony) and the 7th and 8th of which correspond to the 1st, 5th, and 3rd books of the Aitareyaranyaka, respectively, whilst the four adhyayas usually inserted between them constitute the highly interesting Kaushitaki (brahmana-) upanishad, of which we possess two different recensions. The remaining portions (9–15) of the Aranyaka treat of the vital airs, the internal Agnihotra, etc., ending with the vamsha, or succession of teachers.

Medieval Hindu scholarship


According to Hindu tradition, the Rigvedic hymns were collected by Paila
Paila
A paila is an earthenware bowl used as a plate in several South American countries. Dishes served in a paila are often prepared in it inside an oven. By extension the word paila is also used for the dishes eaten in it such as Paila marina and Paila de huevo...

 under the guidance of {{IAST
Vyasa
Vyasa is a central and revered figure in most Hindu traditions. He is also sometimes called Veda Vyasa , or Krishna Dvaipayana...

, who formed the Rigveda Samhita as we know it.{{Citation needed|date=March 2011}} According to the {{IAST
Shatapatha Brahmana
The Shatapatha Brahmana is one of the prose texts describing the Vedic ritual, associated with the Shukla Yajurveda. It survives in two recensions, Madhyandina and Kanva , with the former having the eponymous 100 adhyayas,7624 kandikas in 14 books, and the latter 104 adhyayas,6806 kandikas in 17...

, the number of syllables in the Rigveda is 432,000, equalling the number of muhurtas (1 day = 30 muhurtas) in forty years. This statement stresses the underlying philosophy of the Vedic books that there is a connection (bandhu) between the astronomical, the physiological
Physiology
Physiology is the science of the function of living systems. This includes how organisms, organ systems, organs, cells, and bio-molecules carry out the chemical or physical functions that exist in a living system. The highest honor awarded in physiology is the Nobel Prize in Physiology or...

, and the spiritual{{Citation needed|date=March 2011}}.

The authors of the {{IAST literature discussed and interpreted the Vedic ritual. Yaska
Yaska
' ) was a Sanskrit grammarian who preceded Pāṇini , assumed to have been active in the 5th or 6th century BC.He is the author of the Nirukta, a technical treatise on etymology, lexical category and the semantics of words...

 was an early commentator of the Rigveda by discussing the meanings of difficult words. In the 14th century, {{IAST
Sayana
' was an important commentator on the Vedas. He flourished under King Bukka I and his successor Harihara II, in the Vijayanagar Empire of South India...

 wrote an exhaustive commentary on it.

A number of other commentaries {{IAST|bhāṣya}}s were written during the medieval period, including the commentaries by Skandasvamin (pre-Sayana, roughly of the Gupta period), Udgitha
Udgitha
Udgitha may be*the "chanting" in Vedic ritual, the office of the Udgatr priest*a division of the Samaveda*a name of the mystical syllable Aum*a name of a medieval Hindu scholar, see Udgithacarya...

 (pre-Sayana), Venkata-Madhava (pre-Sayana, ca. 10th to 12th century) and Mudgala
Mudgala
Mudgala may be*Mudgala Purana* the supposed author of a Rigvedic hymn, RV 10.102, see Mandala 10* a son of Vishvamitra according to the Mahabharata*a medieval author, see Rigveda#Medieval_Hindu_scholarship...

 (after Sayana, an abbreviated version of Sayana's commentary).

Hindu revivalism


Since the 19th and 20th centuries, some reformers like Swami Dayananda Saraswati
Swami Dayananda Saraswati
Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati was an important Hindu religious scholar, reformer, and founder of the Arya Samaj, a Hindu reform movement. He was the first to give the call for Swarajya – "India for Indians" – in 1876, later taken up by Lokmanya Tilak...

, founder of the Arya Samaj
Arya Samaj
Arya Samaj is a Hindu reform movement founded by Swami Dayananda on 10 April 1875. He was a sannyasi who believed in the infallible authority of the Vedas. Dayananda emphasized the ideals of brahmacharya...

 and Sri Aurobindo
Sri Aurobindo
Sri Aurobindo , born Aurobindo Ghosh or Ghose , was an Indian nationalist, freedom fighter, philosopher, yogi, guru, and poet. He joined the Indian movement for freedom from British rule and for a duration became one of its most important leaders, before developing his own vision of human progress...

 have attempted to re-interpret the Vedas to conform to modern and established moral and spiritual norms. Dayananda considered the Vedas (which he defined to include only the samhitas) to be source of truth, totally free of error and containing the seeds of all valid knowledge. Contrary to common understanding, he was adamant that Vedas were monotheistic and that they did not sanction idol worship. Starting 1877, he intended to publish commentary on the four vedas but completed work on only the Yajurveda, and a partial commentary on the Rigveda. Dayananda's work is not highly regarded by Vedic scholars and Indologist Louis Renou
Louis Renou
Louis Renou was the pre-eminent French Indologist of the twentieth centuryAfter passing the agregation examination in 1920, Louis Renou taught for a year at the lycee in Rouen. He then took a sabbatical, read the works of Sanskrit scholars and attended the classes of Meillet. Henceforth he opted...

, among others, dismissed it as, "a vigorous (and from our point of view, extremely aberrant) interpretation in the social and political sense."

Dayananda and Aurobindo moved{{Clarify|date=May 2010}} the Vedantic
Vedanta
Vedānta was originally a word used in Hindu philosophy as a synonym for that part of the Veda texts known also as the Upanishads. The name is a morphophonological form of Veda-anta = "Veda-end" = "the appendix to the Vedic hymns." It is also speculated that "Vedānta" means "the purpose or goal...

 perception of the Rigveda from the original ritualistic content to a more symbolic or mystical interpretation.{{Dubious|date=May 2010}} For example, instances of animal sacrifice
Animal sacrifice
Animal sacrifice is the ritual killing of an animal as part of a religion. It is practised by many religions as a means of appeasing a god or gods or changing the course of nature...

 were not seen by them as literal slaughtering, but as transcendental
Transcendence (philosophy)
In philosophy, the adjective transcendental and the noun transcendence convey the basic ground concept from the word's literal meaning , of climbing or going beyond, albeit with varying connotations in its different historical and cultural stages...

 processes.

"Indigenous Aryans" debate


{{See|Indigenous Aryans|Out of India theory}}
Questions surrounding the Rigvedic Sarasvati River
Sarasvati River
The Sarasvati River is one of the chief Rigvedic rivers mentioned in ancient Hindu texts. The Nadistuti hymn in the Rigveda mentions the Sarasvati between the Yamuna in the east and the Sutlej in the west, and later Vedic texts like Tandya and Jaiminiya Brahmanas as well as the Mahabharata...

 and the Nadistuti sukta
Nadistuti sukta
The Nadistuti sukta ,"hymn of praise of rivers", is hymn 10.75 of the Rigveda.It is important for the reconstruction of the geography of the Vedic civilization...

 in particular have become tied to an ideological debate on the Indo-Aryan migration
Indo-Aryan migration
Models of the Indo-Aryan migration discuss scenarios of prehistoric migrations of the proto-Indo-Aryans to their historically attested areas of settlement in the northwest of the Indian subcontinent...

 (termed "Aryan Invasion Theory") versus the claim that Vedic culture, together with Vedic Sanskrit
Vedic Sanskrit
Vedic Sanskrit is an old Indo-Aryan language. It is an archaic form of Sanskrit, an early descendant of Proto-Indo-Iranian. It is closely related to Avestan, the oldest preserved Iranian language...

, originated in the Indus Valley Civilization
Indus Valley Civilization
The Indus Valley Civilization was a Bronze Age civilization that was located in the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent, consisting of what is now mainly modern-day Pakistan and northwest India...

 (termed "Out of India theory
Out of India theory
The Out of India theory is the proposition that the Indo-European language family originated in the Indian subcontinent and spread to the remainder of the Indo-European region through a series of migrations...

"), a topic of great significance in Hindu nationalism
Hindutva
Hindutva is the term used to describe movements advocating Hindu nationalism. Members of the movement are called Hindutvavādis.In India, an umbrella organization called the Sangh Parivar champions the concept of Hindutva...

, addressed for example by K. D. Sethna
K. D. Sethna
Kaikhosru Dadhaboy Sethna was an Indian poet, scholar, writer, philosopher, and cultural critic. He published more than 40 books...

 and in Shrikant G. Talageri's The Rigveda: A Historical Analysis
The Rigveda: A Historical Analysis
The Rigveda: A Historical Analysis is a book by Shrikant G. Talageri . It was published by Aditya Prakashan, New Delhi in 2000....

. Subhash Kak
Subhash Kak
Subhash Kak is an Indian American computer scientist, most notable for his controversial Indological publications on history, the philosophy of science, ancient astronomy, and the history of mathematics...

 (1994) claimed that there is an "astronomical code" in the organization of the hymns. Bal Gangadhar Tilak
Bal Gangadhar Tilak
Lokmanya Tilak –, was an Indian nationalist, teacher, social reformer and independence fighter who was the first popular leader of the Indian Independence Movement. The British colonial authorities derogatorily called the great leader "Father of the Indian unrest"...

, also based on astronomical alignments in the Rigveda, in his "The Orion" (1893) had claimed presence of the Rigvedic culture in India in the 4th millennium BC, and in his The Arctic Home in the Vedas
The Arctic Home in the Vedas
The Arctic Home in the Vedas is a seminal work on the origin of Aryans presented by Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak, a mathematician turned astronomer, historian, journalist, philosopher and political leader of India during 1880 to 1920...

(1903) even argued that the Aryans originated near the North Pole and came south during the ice age
Ice age
An ice age or, more precisely, glacial age, is a generic geological period of long-term reduction in the temperature of the Earth's surface and atmosphere, resulting in the presence or expansion of continental ice sheets, polar ice sheets and alpine glaciers...

.

Debate on alternative suggestions on the date of the Rigveda, typically much earlier dates, are mostly taking place outside of scholarly literature. Some writers out of the mainstream claim to trace astronomical references in the Rigveda
Archaeoastronomy and Vedic chronology
Hindu archaeoastronomical dating of the Vedic period or Hindu Time Cycles, are based on early references to astronomy in Vedic scriptures.-History:...

, dating it to as early as 4000 BC, a date well within the Indian Neolithic
Mehrgarh
Mehrgarh , one of the most important Neolithic sites in archaeology, lies on the "Kachi plain" of Balochistan, Pakistan...

. Publications to this effect have increased during the late 1990s to early 2000s in the context of historical revisionism
Historical revisionism
In historiography, historical revisionism is the reinterpretation of orthodox views on evidence, motivations, and decision-making processes surrounding a historical event...

 in Hindu nationalism
Hindu nationalism
Hindu nationalism has been collectively referred to as the expressions of social and political thought, based on the native spiritual and cultural traditions of historical India...

, notably in books published by Voice of India
Voice of India
Voice of India is a New Delhi publishing house, supportive of Hindu nationalist sentiment and political ideology. It was founded by Ram Swarup in 1983 and later joined by Sita Ram Goel, who themselves published extensively under the label...

.

Translations


The first published translation of any portion of the Rigveda in any Western language was into Latin, by Friedrich August Rosen
Friedrich August Rosen
Friedrich August Rosen was a German Orientalist, brother of Georg Rosen and a close friend of Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy. He studied in Leipzig, and from 1824 in Berlin under Franz Bopp...

 (Rigvedae specimen, London 1830). Predating Müller's editio princeps of the text, Rosen was working from manuscripts brought back from India by Colebrooke
Henry Thomas Colebrooke
Henry Thomas Colebrooke was an English orientalist.-Biography:Henry Thomas Colebrooke, third son of Sir George Colebrooke, 2nd Baronet, was born in London. He was educated at home; and when only fifteen he had made considerable attainments in classics and mathematics...

.

H. H. Wilson was the first to make a complete translation of the Rig Veda into English, published in six volumes during the period 1850–88. Wilson's version was based on the commentary of {{IAST|Sāyaṇa}}. In 1977, Wilson's edition was enlarged by Nag Sharan Singh (Nag Publishers, Delhi, 2nd ed. 1990).

In 1889, Ralph T.H. Griffith
Ralph T.H. Griffith
Ralph Thomas Hotchkin Griffith , scholar of indology, Son of B.A. of Queen's College was elected to the vacant Sanskrit Scholarship on Nov 24, 1849. He translated the Vedic scriptures into English. He also produced translations of other Sanskrit literature, including a verse version of the...

 published his translation as The Hymns of the Rig Veda, published in London (1889).

A German translation was published by Karl Friedrich Geldner
Karl Friedrich Geldner
Karl Friedrich Geldner was a German linguist best known for his analysis and synthesis of Avestan and Vedic Sanskrit texts.-Biography:...

, Der Rig-Veda: aus dem Sanskrit ins Deutsche Übersetzt, Harvard Oriental Studies, vols. 33–37 (Cambridge, Massachusetts: 1951-7).

Geldner's translation was the philologically best-informed to date, and a Russian translation based on Geldner's{{Citation needed|date=February 2011}} by Tatyana Elizarenkova
Tatyana Elizarenkova
Tatyana Elizarenkova was a distinguished Soviet Russian Indologist and linguist, known for her study of the Vedas....

 was published by Nauka
Nauka
Nauka is a Russian publisher of academic books and journals. Established in the USSR in 1923, it was called USSR Academy of Sciences Publisher until 1963. Until 1934 the publisher was based in Leningrad, then moved to Moscow. Its logo depicts an open book with Sputnik 1 above it.Nauka was the main...

 1989–1999

A 2001 revised edition of Wilson's translation was published by Ravi Prakash Arya and K. L. Joshi. The revised edition updates Wilson's translation by replacing obsolete English forms with more modern equivalents, giving the English translation along with the original Sanskrit text in Devanagari
Devanagari
Devanagari |deva]]" and "nāgarī" ), also called Nagari , is an abugida alphabet of India and Nepal...

 script, along with a critical apparatus.

In 2004 the United States' National Endowment for the Humanities funded Joel Brereton and Stephanie W. Jamison as project directors for a new original translation to be issued by Oxford University Press.

Numerous partial translations exist into various languages. Notable examples include:
  • A. A. Macdonell
    Arthur Anthony Macdonell
    Arthur Anthony Macdonell , 7th of Lochgarry, was a noted Sanskrit scholar.Macdonell was born in India and educated at Göttingen University, then matriculated in 1876 at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, gaining a classical exhibition and three scholarships...

    . Hymns from the Rigveda (Calcutta, London, 1922); A Vedic Reader for Students (Oxford, 1917).
  • French
    French language
    French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

    : A. Langlois, Rig-véda, ou livre des hymnes, Paris 1948–51 ISBN 2-7200-1029-4
  • Hungarian: Laszlo Forizs, Rigvéda – Teremtéshimnuszok (Creation Hymns of the Rig-Veda), Budapest, 1995 ISBN 963-85349-1-5 Hymns of the Rig-Veda
  • Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty
    Wendy Doniger
    Wendy Doniger is an American Indologist and Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions at the University of Chicago Divinity School, the Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations, and the Committee on Social Thought...

     issued a modern selection with a translation of 108 hymns, along with critical apparatus. A bibliography of translations of the Rig Veda appears as an Appendix that work.
  • A new German
    German language
    German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

     translations of books 1 and 2 was presented in 2007 by Michael Witzel and Toshifumi Goto (ISBN 978-3-458-70001-2 / ISBN 978-3-458-70001-3).
  • A partial Hindi
    Hindi
    Standard Hindi, or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi, also known as Manak Hindi , High Hindi, Nagari Hindi, and Literary Hindi, is a standardized and sanskritized register of the Hindustani language derived from the Khariboli dialect of Delhi...

     translation by Govind Chandra Pande
    Govind Chandra Pande
    Govind Chandra Pande is a well-known Indian historian of the Vedic and the Buddhist periods . He has served a professor of ancient history and vice-chancellor at Jaipur and Allahabad universities...

     was published in 2008 (by Lokbharti Booksellers and Distributors, Allahabad, covering books 3–5).

External links


{{Wikisource|The Rig Veda}}
{{wikisourcelang|oldwikisource|ऋग्वेदः|Original Sanskrit text in Devanagari}}
{{wikisourcelang|oldwikisource|Rig Veda (ASCII)|Original Sanskrit text in ASCII transliteration}}
{{Wikiquote}}

Text

Translation

{{Rigveda}}
{{Use dmy dates|date=September 2010}}