Vedas

Vedas

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Vedas'
Start a new discussion about 'Vedas'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Unanswered Questions
Recent Discussions
Encyclopedia
The Vedas are a large body of texts originating in ancient India
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...

. Composed in 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...

, the texts constitute the oldest layer of Sanskrit literature
Sanskrit literature
Literature in Sanskrit begins with the Vedas, and continues with the Sanskrit Epics of Iron Age India; the golden age of Classical Sanskrit literature dates to late Antiquity . Literary production saw a late bloom in the 11th century before declining after 1100 AD...

 and the oldest scriptures 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...

.

The class of "Vedic texts" is aggregated around the four canonical s or Vedas proper (), of which the first three () are related to the performance of yajna
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...

 (sacrifice
Sacrifice
Sacrifice is the offering of food, objects or the lives of animals or people to God or the gods as an act of propitiation or worship.While sacrifice often implies ritual killing, the term offering can be used for bloodless sacrifices of cereal food or artifacts...

) in historical 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...

:
  1. The Rigveda
    Rigveda
    The Rigveda is an ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns...

    , containing hymns to be recited by the ;
  2. The Yajurveda
    Yajurveda
    The Yajurveda, a tatpurusha compound of "sacrificial formula', + ) is the third of the four canonical texts of Hinduism, the Vedas. By some, it is estimated to have been composed between 1400 and 1000 BC, the Yajurveda 'Samhita', or 'compilation', contains the liturgy needed to perform the...

    , containing formulas to be recited by the adhvaryu
    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 '...

     or officiating priest;
  3. The Samaveda
    Samaveda
    The Sama veda , is second of the four Vedas, the ancient core Hindu scriptures. Its earliest parts are believed to date from 1700 BC and it ranks next in sanctity and liturgical importance to the Rigveda...

    , containing formulas to be sung by the .
  4. The fourth is the Atharvaveda
    Atharvaveda
    The Atharvaveda is a sacred text of Hinduism and one of the four Vedas, often called the "fourth Veda"....

    , a collection of spells and incantations, apotropaic charms and speculative hymns.


The Rig Veda manuscripts have been selected for inscription in UNESCO's "Memory of the World" Register 2007.

According to Hindu tradition, the Vedas are
{{Redirect|Veda}}
{{Redirect|Vedic}}
{{Hindu scriptures}}
The Vedas (
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|वेद}} {{IAST|véda}}, "knowledge
Knowledge
Knowledge is a familiarity with someone or something unknown, which can include information, facts, descriptions, or skills acquired through experience or education. It can refer to the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject...

") are a large body of texts originating in ancient India
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...

. Composed in 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...

, the texts constitute the oldest layer of Sanskrit literature
Sanskrit literature
Literature in Sanskrit begins with the Vedas, and continues with the Sanskrit Epics of Iron Age India; the golden age of Classical Sanskrit literature dates to late Antiquity . Literary production saw a late bloom in the 11th century before declining after 1100 AD...

 and the oldest scriptures 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...

.

The class of "Vedic texts" is aggregated around the four canonical {{IAST|Saṃhitā}}s or Vedas proper ({{IAST|turīya}}), of which the first three ({{IAST|traya}}) are related to the performance of yajna
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...

 (sacrifice
Sacrifice
Sacrifice is the offering of food, objects or the lives of animals or people to God or the gods as an act of propitiation or worship.While sacrifice often implies ritual killing, the term offering can be used for bloodless sacrifices of cereal food or artifacts...

) in historical 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...

:
  1. The Rigveda
    Rigveda
    The Rigveda is an ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns...

    , containing hymns to be recited by the {{IAST|hotṛ
    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 '...

    }};
  2. The Yajurveda
    Yajurveda
    The Yajurveda, a tatpurusha compound of "sacrificial formula', + ) is the third of the four canonical texts of Hinduism, the Vedas. By some, it is estimated to have been composed between 1400 and 1000 BC, the Yajurveda 'Samhita', or 'compilation', contains the liturgy needed to perform the...

    , containing formulas to be recited by the adhvaryu
    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 '...

     or officiating priest;
  3. The Samaveda
    Samaveda
    The Sama veda , is second of the four Vedas, the ancient core Hindu scriptures. Its earliest parts are believed to date from 1700 BC and it ranks next in sanctity and liturgical importance to the Rigveda...

    , containing formulas to be sung by the {{IAST|udgātṛ}}.
  4. The fourth is the Atharvaveda
    Atharvaveda
    The Atharvaveda is a sacred text of Hinduism and one of the four Vedas, often called the "fourth Veda"....

    , a collection of spells and incantations, apotropaic charms and speculative hymns.


The Rig Veda manuscripts have been selected for inscription in UNESCO's "Memory of the World" Register 2007.

According to Hindu tradition, the Vedas are
{{Redirect|Veda}}
{{Redirect|Vedic}}
{{Hindu scriptures}}
The Vedas (
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|वेद}} {{IAST|véda}}, "knowledge
Knowledge
Knowledge is a familiarity with someone or something unknown, which can include information, facts, descriptions, or skills acquired through experience or education. It can refer to the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject...

") are a large body of texts originating in ancient India
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...

. Composed in 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...

, the texts constitute the oldest layer of Sanskrit literature
Sanskrit literature
Literature in Sanskrit begins with the Vedas, and continues with the Sanskrit Epics of Iron Age India; the golden age of Classical Sanskrit literature dates to late Antiquity . Literary production saw a late bloom in the 11th century before declining after 1100 AD...

 and the oldest scriptures 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...

.

The class of "Vedic texts" is aggregated around the four canonical {{IAST|Saṃhitā}}s or Vedas proper ({{IAST|turīya}}), of which the first three ({{IAST|traya}}) are related to the performance of yajna
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...

 (sacrifice
Sacrifice
Sacrifice is the offering of food, objects or the lives of animals or people to God or the gods as an act of propitiation or worship.While sacrifice often implies ritual killing, the term offering can be used for bloodless sacrifices of cereal food or artifacts...

) in historical 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...

:
  1. The Rigveda
    Rigveda
    The Rigveda is an ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns...

    , containing hymns to be recited by the {{IAST|hotṛ
    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 '...

    }};
  2. The Yajurveda
    Yajurveda
    The Yajurveda, a tatpurusha compound of "sacrificial formula', + ) is the third of the four canonical texts of Hinduism, the Vedas. By some, it is estimated to have been composed between 1400 and 1000 BC, the Yajurveda 'Samhita', or 'compilation', contains the liturgy needed to perform the...

    , containing formulas to be recited by the adhvaryu
    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 '...

     or officiating priest;
  3. The Samaveda
    Samaveda
    The Sama veda , is second of the four Vedas, the ancient core Hindu scriptures. Its earliest parts are believed to date from 1700 BC and it ranks next in sanctity and liturgical importance to the Rigveda...

    , containing formulas to be sung by the {{IAST|udgātṛ}}.
  4. The fourth is the Atharvaveda
    Atharvaveda
    The Atharvaveda is a sacred text of Hinduism and one of the four Vedas, often called the "fourth Veda"....

    , a collection of spells and incantations, apotropaic charms and speculative hymns.


The Rig Veda manuscripts have been selected for inscription in UNESCO's "Memory of the World" Register 2007.

According to Hindu tradition, the Vedas are {{IAST
Apaurusheyatva
In Hinduism, Apaurusheyatva , Sanskrit, "being unauthored", is used to describe the Vedas, the main scripture in Hinduism. This implies that the Vedas are not authored by any agency, be it human or divine...

"not of human agency", are supposed to have been directly revealed, and thus are called {{IAST|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...

}} ("what is heard").
The four
{{IAST|Saṃhitā}}s are metrical
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...

 (with the exception of prose commentary interspersed in the Black Yajurveda). The term
{{IAST|saṃhitā}} literally means "composition, compilation". The individual verses contained in these compilations are known as {{IAST|mantra
Mantra
A mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of "creating transformation"...

s}}. Some selected Vedic mantras are still recited at prayers, religious functions and other auspicious occasions in contemporary Hinduism.

The various Indian philosophies
Hindu philosophy
Hindu philosophy is divided into six schools of thought, or , which accept the Vedas as supreme revealed scriptures. Three other schools do not accept the Vedas as authoritative...

 and sects
Hindu denominations
Hinduism comprises numerous sects or denominations. The denominations are roughly comparable to different religions. The main divisions in current Hinduism are Shaivism, Shaktism, Vaishnavism, and Smartism...

 have taken differing positions on the Vedas. Schools of Indian philosophy which cite the Vedas as their scriptural authority are classified as "orthodox" (āstika). Other traditions, notably Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 and Jainism
Jainism
Jainism is an Indian religion that prescribes a path of non-violence towards all living beings. Its philosophy and practice emphasize the necessity of self-effort to move the soul towards divine consciousness and liberation. Any soul that has conquered its own inner enemies and achieved the state...

, which did not regard the Vedas as authorities are referred to by traditional Hindu texts as "heterodox" or "non-orthodox" (nāstika) schools. In addition to Buddhism and Jainism, Sikhism
Sikhism
Sikhism is a monotheistic religion founded during the 15th century in the Punjab region, by Guru Nanak Dev and continued to progress with ten successive Sikh Gurus . It is the fifth-largest organized religion in the world and one of the fastest-growing...

 and Brahmoism
Brahmoism
Brahmoism is a religious movement from the late 18th century Bengal originating the Bengali Renaissance, the nascent Indian independence movement and the wider Hindu reform movements of the period...

, many non-Brahmin Hindus in South India
South India
South India is the area encompassing India's states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu as well as the union territories of Lakshadweep and Pondicherry, occupying 19.31% of India's area...

  do not accept the authority of the Vedas. Certain South Indian Brahmin communities such as Iyengars consider the Tamil
Tamil language
Tamil is a Dravidian language spoken predominantly by Tamil people of the Indian subcontinent. It has official status in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and in the Indian union territory of Pondicherry. Tamil is also an official language of Sri Lanka and Singapore...

 Divya Prabandham or writing of the Alvar
Alvars
The alwar or azhwars were Tamil poet saints of south India who lived between the sixth and ninth centuries A.D. and espoused ‘emotional devotion’ or bhakti to Visnu-Krishna in their songs of longing, ecstasy and service. Sri Vaishnava orthodoxy posits the number of alvars as ten, though there are...

 saints as equivalent to the Vedas. In most Iyengar
Iyengar
Iyengar or Ayyangar is a caste given to Hindu Brahmins of Tamil origin who follow the Visishtadvaita philosophy propounded by Sri Ramanujacharya. They are found mostly in Tamil Nadu as they are generally native to the Tamil Nadu state of the Republic of India...

 temples in South India the Divya Prabandham is recited daily along with Vedic Hymns.

Etymology and Usage


The 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...

 word {{IAST|véda}} "knowledge, wisdom" is derived from the root vid- "to know". This is reconstructed as being derived from the Proto-Indo-European
Proto-Indo-European language
The Proto-Indo-European language is the reconstructed common ancestor of the Indo-European languages, spoken by the Proto-Indo-Europeans...

 root
{{PIE|*u̯eid-}}, meaning "see" or "know".

As a noun, the word appears only in a single instance in the Rigveda, in RV 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...

.19.5, translated by Griffith as "ritual lore":
{{IAST| yáḥ samídhā yá âhutī / yó védena dadâśa márto agnáye / yó námasā svadhvaráḥ}}
"The mortal who hath ministered to Agni with oblation, fuel, ritual lore, and reverence, skilled in sacrifice."


The noun is from Proto-Indo-European
Proto-Indo-European language
The Proto-Indo-European language is the reconstructed common ancestor of the Indo-European languages, spoken by the Proto-Indo-Europeans...

 
{{PIE|*u̯eidos}}, cognate to Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 {{lang|grc|(ϝ)εἶδος}} "aspect", "form" . Not to be confused is the homonymous 1st and 3rd person singular perfect tense
{{IAST|véda}}, cognate to Greek {{lang|grc|(ϝ)οἶδα}} (w)oida "I know". Root cognates are Greek ἰδέα
Idea
In the most narrow sense, an idea is just whatever is before the mind when one thinks. Very often, ideas are construed as representational images; i.e. images of some object. In other contexts, ideas are taken to be concepts, although abstract concepts do not necessarily appear as images...

, English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 
wit
Wit
Wit is a form of intellectual humour, and a wit is someone skilled in making witty remarks. Forms of wit include the quip and repartee.-Forms of wit:...

, etc., Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 
video "I see", etc.

In English, the term
Veda is often used loosely to refer to the Samhitas (collection of mantra
Mantra
A mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of "creating transformation"...

s, or chants) of the four canonical Vedas (Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samaveda and Atharvaveda).

The Sanskrit term
{{IAST|veda}} as a common noun means "knowledge", but can also be used to refer to fields of study unrelated to liturgy or ritual, e.g. in {{IAST|agada-veda}} "medical science", {{IAST|sasya-veda}} "science of agriculture" or {{IAST|sarpa-veda}} "science of snakes" (already found in the early Upanishads); {{IAST|durveda}} means "with evil knowledge, ignorant".

Chronology


{{Main|Vedic period}}
The Vedas are among the oldest sacred texts
Ancient literature
The history of literature begins with the history of writing, in Bronze Age Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt.Writing develops out of proto-literate sign systems by the 30th century BC, although the oldest literary texts that have come down to us are several centuries younger, dating to the 27th or...

. The Samhitas date to roughly 1500–1000 BCE, and the "circum-Vedic" texts, as well as the redaction
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 ...

 of the Samhitas, date to c. 1000-500 BCE, resulting in a 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...

, spanning the mid 2nd to mid 1st millennium BCE, or 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...

 and the 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...

.
The Vedic period reaches its peak only after the composition of the mantra texts, with the establishment of the various 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 all over Northern India which annotated the mantra samhitas with Brahmana
Brahmana
The Brāhmaṇas are part of the Hindu śruti literature. They are commentaries on the four Vedas, detailing the proper performance of rituals....

 discussions of their meaning, and reaches its end in the age of Buddha
Gautama Buddha
Siddhārtha Gautama was a spiritual teacher from the Indian subcontinent, on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. In most Buddhist traditions, he is regarded as the Supreme Buddha Siddhārtha Gautama (Sanskrit: सिद्धार्थ गौतम; Pali: Siddhattha Gotama) was a spiritual teacher from the Indian...

 and Panini and the rise of the Mahajanapadas
Mahajanapadas
Mahājanapadas , literally "great realms", were ancient Indian kingdoms or countries...

 (archaeologically, Northern Black Polished Ware
Northern Black Polished Ware
The Northern Black Polished Ware culture of South Asia is an Iron Age culture, succeeding the Painted Grey Ware culture...

). Michael Witzel gives a time span of c. 1500 BCE to c. 500-400 BCE. Witzel makes special reference to the Near Eastern Mitanni material
Indo-Aryan superstrate in Mitanni
Some theonyms, proper names and other terminology of the Mitanni exhibit an Indo-Aryan superstrate, suggesting that an Indo-Aryan elite imposed itself over the Hurrian population in the course of the Indo-Aryan expansion....

 of the 14th c. BCE the only epigraphic record of Indo-Aryan contemporary to the Rigvedic period. He gives 150 BCE (Patañjali
Patañjali
Patañjali is the compiler of the Yoga Sūtras, an important collection of aphorisms on Yoga practice. According to tradition, the same Patañjali was also the author of the Mahābhāṣya, a commentary on Kātyāyana's vārttikas on Pāṇini's Aṣṭādhyāyī as well as an unspecified work of medicine .In...

) as a terminus ante quem
Terminus post quem
Terminus post quem and terminus ante quem specify approximate dates for events...

 for all Vedic Sanskrit literature, and 1200 BCE (the 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...

) as terminus post quem
Terminus post quem
Terminus post quem and terminus ante quem specify approximate dates for events...

 for the Atharvaveda.

Transmission of texts in the Vedic period was 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, preserved with precision with the help of elaborate mnemonic techniques
Vedic chant
The oral tradition of the Vedas consists of several pathas, "recitations" or ways of chanting the Vedic mantras. Such traditions of Vedic chant are often considered the oldest unbroken oral tradition in existence, the fixation of the samhita texts as preserved dating to roughly the time of Homer...

. A literary tradition set in only in post-Vedic times, after the rise of Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 in the Maurya period
Maurya Empire
The Maurya Empire was a geographically extensive Iron Age historical power in ancient India, ruled by the Mauryan dynasty from 321 to 185 BC...

, perhaps earliest in the Kanva
Kanvas
Kanva was an ancient Hindu rishi, to whom some of the hymns of the Rig Veda are ascribed. He was called a son of Ghora and one of the Angirasas...

 recension of the Yajurveda about the 1st century BCE; however oral tradition predominated until c. 1000 CE.

Due to the ephemeral nature of the manuscript material (birch bark or palm leaves), surviving manuscripts rarely surpass an age of a few hundred years. The Benares Sanskrit University has a Rigveda manuscript of the mid-14th century; however, there are a number of older Veda manuscripts in Nepal
Nepal
Nepal , officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India...

 belonging to the Vajasaneyi tradition that are dated from the 11th century onwards.

Categories of Vedic texts


The term "Vedic texts" is used in two distinct meanings:
  1. Texts composed in 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...

     during the 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...

     (Iron Age India
    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...

    )
  2. Any text considered as "connected to the Vedas" or a "corollary of the Vedas"

Vedic Sanskrit corpus


The corpus 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...

 texts includes:
  • The Samhita (Sanskrit {{IAST|saṃhitā}}, "collection"), are collections of metric texts ("mantra
    Mantra
    A mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of "creating transformation"...

    s"). There are four "Vedic" Samhitas: the Rig-Veda
    Rigveda
    The Rigveda is an ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns...

    , Sama-Veda
    Samaveda
    The Sama veda , is second of the four Vedas, the ancient core Hindu scriptures. Its earliest parts are believed to date from 1700 BC and it ranks next in sanctity and liturgical importance to the Rigveda...

    , Yajur-Veda
    Yajurveda
    The Yajurveda, a tatpurusha compound of "sacrificial formula', + ) is the third of the four canonical texts of Hinduism, the Vedas. By some, it is estimated to have been composed between 1400 and 1000 BC, the Yajurveda 'Samhita', or 'compilation', contains the liturgy needed to perform the...

    , and Atharva-Veda
    Atharvaveda
    The Atharvaveda is a sacred text of Hinduism and one of the four Vedas, often called the "fourth Veda"....

    , most of which are available in several recension
    Recension
    Recension is the practice of editing or revising a text based on critical analysis. When referring to manuscripts, this may be a revision by another author...

    s (
    {{IAST|śākhā}}). In some contexts, the term Veda is used to refer to these Samhitas. This is the oldest layer of Vedic texts, apart from the Rigvedic hymns, which were probably essentially complete by 1200 BC, dating to ca. the 12th to 10th centuries BC. The complete corpus of Vedic mantras as collected in Bloomfield
    Maurice Bloomfield
    Maurice Bloomfield, Ph. D., LL.D. was an American philologist and Sanskrit scholar.-Biography:Bloomfield was born in Bielitz , in what was at that time Austrian Silesia...

    's
    Vedic Concordance (1907) consists of some 89,000 pada
    Pada (Hindu mythology)
    Pada or pāda is the Sanskrit term for "foot" , with derived meanings "step, stride; footprint, trace; vestige, mark"....

    s (metric feet
    Foot (prosody)
    The foot is the basic metrical unit that generates a line of verse in most Western traditions of poetry, including English accentual-syllabic verse and the quantitative meter of classical ancient Greek and Latin poetry. The unit is composed of syllables, the number of which is limited, with a few...

    ), of which 72,000 occur in the four Samhitas.
  • The Brahmana
    Brahmana
    The Brāhmaṇas are part of the Hindu śruti literature. They are commentaries on the four Vedas, detailing the proper performance of rituals....

    s are prose texts that discuss, in technical fashion, the solemn sacrificial rituals as well as comment on their meaning and many connected themes. Each of the Brahmanas is associated with one of the Samhitas or its recensions. The Brahmanas may either form separate texts or can be partly integrated into the text of the Samhitas. They may also include the Aranyakas and Upanishads.
  • The 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....

    s, "wilderness texts" or "forest treaties", were composed by people who meditated in the woods as recluses and are the third part of the Vedas. The texts contain discussions and interpretations of dangerous rituals (to be studied outside the settlement) and various sorts of additional materials. It is frequently read in secondary literature.
  • Some of the older Mukhya Upanishads
    Mukhya Upanishads
    The Muktika canon of 108 Upanishads is headed by 10 Mukhya Upanishads. These are the ten oldest Upanishads, known to and commented upon by the 9th century scholar Shankara. Sanskrit means "principal", "chief", or "eminent". Also known as Dashopanishads, these ten Mukhya Upanishads probably all...

     ({{IAST
    Brihadaranyaka Upanishad
    The Upanishad is one of the older, "primary" Upanishads. It is contained within the Shatapatha Brahmana, and its status as an independent Upanishad may be considered a secondary extraction of a portion of the Brahmana text. This makes it one of the oldest texts of the Upanishad corpus...

    , Chandogya
    Chandogya Upanishad
    The Chandogya Upanishad is one of the "primary" Upanishads. Together with the Jaiminiya Upanishad Brahmana and the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad it ranks among the oldest Upanishads, dating to the Vedic Brahmana period....

    , {{IAST
    Katha Upanishad
    The Katha Upanishad , also titled "Death as Teacher", is one of the mukhya Upanishads commented upon by Shankara. It is associated with the school of the Black Yajurveda, and is grouped with the Sutra period of Vedic Sanskrit. It is a middle Upanishad...

    ).
  • Certain Sūtra
    Sutra
    Sūtra is an aphorism or a collection of such aphorisms in the form of a manual. Literally it means a thread or line that holds things together and is derived from the verbal root siv-, meaning to sew , as does the medical term...

     literature, i.e. the Shrautasutras and the Grhyasutra
    Kalpa (Vedanga)
    Kalpa is one of the six disciplines of Vedanga, treating ritual.Tradition does not single out any special work in this branch of the Vedanga; but sacrificial practice gave rise to a large number of systematic sutras for the several classes of priests...

    s.


The Shrauta Sutras, regarded as belonging to the smriti, are late Vedic in language and content, thus forming part of the Vedic Sanskrit corpus.
The composition of the Shrauta and Grhya Sutras (ca. 6th century BC) marks the end of the Vedic period , and at the same time the beginning of the flourishing of the "circum-Vedic" scholarship of Vedanga
Vedanga
The Vedanga are six auxiliary disciplines traditionally associated with the study and understanding of the Vedas.#Shiksha : phonetics, phonology and morphophonology #Kalpa : ritual#Vyakarana : grammar...

, introducing the early flowering of classical Sanskrit literature
Sanskrit literature
Literature in Sanskrit begins with the Vedas, and continues with the Sanskrit Epics of Iron Age India; the golden age of Classical Sanskrit literature dates to late Antiquity . Literary production saw a late bloom in the 11th century before declining after 1100 AD...

 in the Mauryan
Maurya Empire
The Maurya Empire was a geographically extensive Iron Age historical power in ancient India, ruled by the Mauryan dynasty from 321 to 185 BC...

 and Gupta
Gupta Empire
The Gupta Empire was an ancient Indian empire which existed approximately from 320 to 550 CE and covered much of the Indian Subcontinent. Founded by Maharaja Sri-Gupta, the dynasty was the model of a classical civilization. The peace and prosperity created under leadership of Guptas enabled the...

 periods.

While production of Brahmanas and Aranyakas ceases with the end of the Vedic period, there is a large number of Upanishads composed after the end of the Vedic period. While most of the ten Mukhya Upanishads
Mukhya Upanishads
The Muktika canon of 108 Upanishads is headed by 10 Mukhya Upanishads. These are the ten oldest Upanishads, known to and commented upon by the 9th century scholar Shankara. Sanskrit means "principal", "chief", or "eminent". Also known as Dashopanishads, these ten Mukhya Upanishads probably all...

 can be considered to date to the Vedic or Mahajanapada period, most of the 108 Upanishads of the full Muktika
Muktika
The Muktikā refers to the canon of 108 upaniṣadas of the Advaita school enumerated in the Muktikopaniṣad, the 108th of which is the Muktikopaniṣad itself...

 canon date to the Common Era.

The Brahmana
Brahmana
The Brāhmaṇas are part of the Hindu śruti literature. They are commentaries on the four Vedas, detailing the proper performance of rituals....

s, 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....

s, and Upanishads often interpret the polytheistic and ritualistic Samhitas in philosophical and metaphorical ways to explore abstract concepts such as the Absolute (Brahman
Brahman
In Hinduism, Brahman is the one supreme, universal Spirit that is the origin and support of the phenomenal universe. Brahman is sometimes referred to as the Absolute or Godhead which is the Divine Ground of all being...

), and the soul or the self (Atman
Ātman (Hinduism)
Ātman is a Sanskrit word that means 'self'. In Hindu philosophy, especially in the Vedanta school of Hinduism it refers to one's true self beyond identification with phenomena...

), introducing Vedanta
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...

 philosophy, one of the major trends of later 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...

.

The Vedic Sanskrit corpus
is the scope of A Vedic Word Concordance
A Vedic Word Concordance
A Vedic Word Concordance is a multi-volume concordance of the corpus of Vedic Sanskrit texts. It has been under preparation from 1930 and was published in 1935-1965 under the guidance of , with an introduction in Sanskrit and English...

({{IAST|Vaidika-Padānukrama-Koṣa}}) prepared from 1930 under Vishva Bandhu, and published in five volumes in 1935-1965. Its scope extends to about 400 texts, including the entire Vedic Sanskrit corpus besides some "sub-Vedic" texts.
Volume I: Samhitas
Volume II: Brahmanas and Aranyakas
Volume III: Upanishads
Volume IV: Vedangas

A revised edition, extending to about 1800 pages, was published in 1973-1976.

Shruti literature


{{Main|Shruti}}
The texts considered "Vedic" in the sense of "corollaries of the Vedas" is less clearly defined, and may include numerous post-Vedic texts such as Upanishads or Sutra literature
Sutra
Sūtra is an aphorism or a collection of such aphorisms in the form of a manual. Literally it means a thread or line that holds things together and is derived from the verbal root siv-, meaning to sew , as does the medical term...

. These texts are by many Hindu sects considered to be shruti
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...

(Sanskrit: {{IAST|śruti}}; "the heard"), divinely revealed like the Vedas themselves. Texts not considered to be shruti are known as smriti
Smriti
Smriti literally "that which is remembered," refers to a specific body of Hindu religious scripture, and is a codified component of Hindu customary law. Smṛti also denotes non-Śruti texts and is generally seen as secondary in authority to Śruti. The literature which comprises the Smrti was...

(Sanskrit: {{IAST|smṛti}}; "the remembered"), of human origin. This indigenous system of categorization was adopted 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...

 and, while it is subject to some debate, it is still widely used. As Axel Michaels explains:

These classifications are often not tenable for linguistic and formal reasons: There is not only
one collection at any one time, but rather several handed down in separate Vedic schools; Upanişads ... are sometimes not to be distinguished from {{IAST|Āraṇyakas}}...; {{IAST|Brāhmaṇas}} contain older strata of language attributed to the {{IAST|Saṃhitās}}; there are various dialects and locally prominent traditions of the Vedic schools. Nevertheless, it is advisable to stick to the division adopted by Max Müller because it follows the Indian tradition, conveys the historical sequence fairly accurately, and underlies the current editions, translations, and monographs on Vedic literature."


The Upanishads are largely philosophical works in dialog form. They discuss questions of nature philosophy and the fate of the soul, and contain some mystic and spiritual interpretations of the Vedas. For long, they have been regarded as their putative end and essence, and are thus known as Vedānta ("the end of the Vedas"). Taken together, they are the basis of the Vedanta
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...

 school.

Vedic schools or recensions


{{Main|Shakha}}

Study of the extensive body of Vedic texts has been organized into a number of different schools or branches (Sanskrit {{IAST|śākhā}}, literally "branch" or "limb") each of which specialized in learning certain texts. Multiple recensions are known for each of the Vedas, and each Vedic text may have a number of schools associated with it. Elaborate methods for preserving the text were based on memorizing by heart instead of writing. Specific techniques for parsing and reciting the texts were used to assist in the memorization process. (See also: Vedic chant
Vedic chant
The oral tradition of the Vedas consists of several pathas, "recitations" or ways of chanting the Vedic mantras. Such traditions of Vedic chant are often considered the oldest unbroken oral tradition in existence, the fixation of the samhita texts as preserved dating to roughly the time of Homer...

)

Prodigous energy was expended by ancient Indian culture in ensuring that these texts were transmitted from generation to generation with inordinate fidelity. For example, memorization of the sacred
Vedas included up to eleven forms of recitation
Vedic chant
The oral tradition of the Vedas consists of several pathas, "recitations" or ways of chanting the Vedic mantras. Such traditions of Vedic chant are often considered the oldest unbroken oral tradition in existence, the fixation of the samhita texts as preserved dating to roughly the time of Homer...

 of the same text. The texts were subsequently "proof-read" by comparing the different recited versions. Forms of recitation included the
{{IAST|jaṭā-pāṭha}} (literally "mesh recitation") in which every two adjacent words in the text were first recited in their original order, then repeated in the reverse order, and finally repeated again in the original order.

That these methods have been effective, is testified to by the preservation of the most ancient Indian religious text, the
{{IAST
Rigveda
The Rigveda is an ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns...

, as redacted
Redaction
Redaction is a form of editing in which multiple source texts are combined and subjected to minor alteration to make them into a single work. Often this is a method of collecting a series of writings on a similar theme and creating a definitive and coherent work...

 into a single text during the
Brahmana period, without any variant readings.

The Four Vedas



{{Vedas and Shakhas}}
The canonical division of the Vedas is fourfold (
{{IAST|turīya}}) viz.,
  1. Rigveda
    Rigveda
    The Rigveda is an ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns...

      (RV)
  2. Yajurveda
    Yajurveda
    The Yajurveda, a tatpurusha compound of "sacrificial formula', + ) is the third of the four canonical texts of Hinduism, the Vedas. By some, it is estimated to have been composed between 1400 and 1000 BC, the Yajurveda 'Samhita', or 'compilation', contains the liturgy needed to perform the...

      (YV, with the main division TS
    Taittiriya Shakha
    The Taittiriya Shakha is a notable shakha of the Black Yajurveda. The Vishnu Purana attributes it to a pupil of Yaska named Tittiri. It is most prevalent in south India. The shakha consists of:...

     vs. VS
    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 ...

    )
  3. Sama-Veda
    Samaveda
    The Sama veda , is second of the four Vedas, the ancient core Hindu scriptures. Its earliest parts are believed to date from 1700 BC and it ranks next in sanctity and liturgical importance to the Rigveda...

      (SV)
  4. Atharva-Veda
    Atharvaveda
    The Atharvaveda is a sacred text of Hinduism and one of the four Vedas, often called the "fourth Veda"....

      (AV)

Of these, the first three were the principal original division, also called "
{{IAST|trayī vidyā}}", that is, "the triple sacred science" of reciting hymns (RV), performing sacrifices (YV), and chanting (SV). This triplicity is so introduced in the Brahmana
Brahmana
The Brāhmaṇas are part of the Hindu śruti literature. They are commentaries on the four Vedas, detailing the proper performance of rituals....

s (ShB
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...

, ABr
Aitareya Brahmana
The Aitareya Brahmana is the Brahmana of the Shakala shakha of the Rigveda, an ancient Indian collection of sacred hymns. This work, according to the tradition is ascribed to Mahidasa Aitareya.-Contents:...

 and others), but the Rigveda is the older work of the three from which the other two borrow, next to their own independent Yajus, sorcery and speculative mantras.

Thus, the Mantras are properly of three forms:
1. Ric, which are verses of praise in metre, and intended for loud recitation; 2. Yajus, which are in prose, and intended for recitation in lower voice at sacrifices; 3. Sāman, which are in metre, and intended for singing at 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...

 ceremonies.

The Yajurveda, Samaveda and Atharvaveda are independent collections of mantras and hymns intended as manuals for the Adhvaryu
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 '...

, Udgatr and Brahman
Brahman
In Hinduism, Brahman is the one supreme, universal Spirit that is the origin and support of the phenomenal universe. Brahman is sometimes referred to as the Absolute or Godhead which is the Divine Ground of all being...

 priests respectively.

The Atharvaveda is the fourth Veda. Its status has occasionally been ambiguous, probably due to its use in sorcery and healing. However, it contains very old materials in early Vedic language. Manusmrti, which often speaks of the three Vedas, calling them trayam-brahma-sanātanam, "the triple eternal Veda". The Atharvaveda like the Rigveda, is a collection of original incantations, and other materials borrowing relatively little from the Rigveda. It has no direct relation to the solemn Śrauta
Srauta
' traditions are conservative ritualistic traditions of the historical Vedic religion in Hinduism, based on the body of Śruti literature...

 sacrifices, except for the fact that the mostly silent Brahmán priest observes the procedures and uses Atharvaveda mantras to 'heal' it when mistakes have been made. Its recitation also produces long life, cures diseases, or effects the ruin of enemies.

Each of the four Vedas consists of the metrical Mantra
Mantra
A mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of "creating transformation"...

 or Samhita and the prose Brahmana
Brahmana
The Brāhmaṇas are part of the Hindu śruti literature. They are commentaries on the four Vedas, detailing the proper performance of rituals....

 part, giving discussions and directions for the detail of the ceremonies at which the Mantras were to be used and explanations of the legends connected with the Mantras and rituals. Both these portions are termed shruti
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...

 (which tradition says to have been heard but not composed or written down by men). Each of the four Vedas seems to have passed to numerous 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 or schools, giving rise to various recensions of the text. They each have an Index or Anukramani
Anukramani
The Anukramanis are the systematic indices of Vedic hymns recording poetic meter, content, and traditions of authorship.-Anukramanis of the Rigveda:...

, the principal work of this kind being the general Index or {{IAST|Sarvānukramaṇī}}.

Rigveda


{{Main|Rigveda}}

The Rigveda Samhita
Rigveda
The Rigveda is an ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns...

 is the oldest extant Indic
Indo-Aryan languages
The Indo-Aryan languages constitutes a branch of the Indo-Iranian languages, itself a branch of the Indo-European language family...

 text. It is a collection of 1,028 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...

 hymn
Hymn
A hymn is a type of song, usually religious, specifically written for the purpose of praise, adoration or prayer, and typically addressed to a deity or deities, or to a prominent figure or personification...

s and 10,600 verses in all, organized into ten books (Sanskrit:
mandalas). The hymns are dedicated to Rigvedic deities
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...

.

The books were composed by poets from different priestly groups over a period of several centuries, commonly dated to the period of roughly the second half of the 2nd millennium BCE (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...

) in the 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...

 (Sapta Sindhu) 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...

.

There are strong linguistic and cultural similarities between the Rigveda and 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 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...

; the earliest horse-drawn chariots were found at Andronovo sites in the Sintashta-Petrovka cultural area near the Ural Mountains
Ural Mountains
The Ural Mountains , or simply the Urals, are a mountain range that runs approximately from north to south through western Russia, from the coast of the Arctic Ocean to the Ural River and northwestern Kazakhstan. Their eastern side is usually considered the natural boundary between Europe and Asia...

 and date to ca. 2000 BCE.

Yajurveda


{{Main|Yajurveda}}
The Yajurveda Samhita
Yajurveda
The Yajurveda, a tatpurusha compound of "sacrificial formula', + ) is the third of the four canonical texts of Hinduism, the Vedas. By some, it is estimated to have been composed between 1400 and 1000 BC, the Yajurveda 'Samhita', or 'compilation', contains the liturgy needed to perform the...

 consists of archaic prose mantras and also in part of verses borrowed and adapted from the Rigveda. Its purpose was practical, in that each mantra must accompany an action in sacrifice but, unlike the Samaveda, it was compiled to apply to all sacrificial rites, not merely the Somayajna.
There are two major groups of recension
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 of this Veda, known as the "Black" (Krishna) and "White" (Shukla) Yajurveda (Krishna and Shukla Yajurveda respectively).
While White Yajurveda separates the Samhita from its Brahmana (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...

), the
e Black Yajurveda intersperses the Samhita with Brahmana commentary. Of the Black Yajurveda four major recensions survive (Maitrayani, Katha, Kapisthala-Katha, Taittiriya).

Samaveda


{{Main|Samaveda}}
The Samaveda Samhita
Samaveda
The Sama veda , is second of the four Vedas, the ancient core Hindu scriptures. Its earliest parts are believed to date from 1700 BC and it ranks next in sanctity and liturgical importance to the Rigveda...

 (from {{IAST|sāman}}, the term for a melody applied to metrical hymn or song of praise) consists of 1549 stanzas, taken almost entirely (except for 78 stanzas) from the Rigveda.
Like the Rigvedic stanzas in the Yajurveda, the Samans have been changed and adapted for use in singing. Some of the Rigvedic verses are repeated more than once. Including repetitions, there are a total of 1875 verses numbered in the Samaveda recension translated by Griffith. Two major recensions remain today, the Kauthuma/Ranayaniya and the Jaiminiya. Its purpose was liturgical, as the repertoire of the {{IAST or "singer" priests who took part in the sacrifice.

Atharvaveda


{{Main|Atharvaveda}}
The Artharvaveda Samhita
Atharvaveda
The Atharvaveda is a sacred text of Hinduism and one of the four Vedas, often called the "fourth Veda"....

 is the text 'belonging to the Atharvan
Atharvan
Atharvan was a legendary Vedic sage of Hinduism who along with Angiras is supposed to have authored the Atharvaveda. He is also said to have first instituted the fire-sacrifice or yagna. Sometimes he is also reckoned among the seven seers or Saptarishi. His clan is known as the Atharvanas...

 and Angirasa poets.
It has 760 hymns, and about 160 of the hymns are in common with the Rigveda. Most of the verses are metrical, but some sections are in prose.
It was compiled around 900 BCE, although some of its material may go back to the time of the Rigveda, and some parts of the Atharva-Veda are older than the Rig-Veda though not in linguistic form.

The Atharvaveda is preserved in two recensions, the Paippalāda and Śaunaka. According to Apte it had nine schools (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). The Paippalada text, which exists in a Kashmir and an Orissa version, is longer than the Saunaka one; it is only partially printed in its two versions and remains largely untranslated.

Unlike the other three Vedas, the Atharvanaveda has less connection with sacrifice. Its first part consists chiefly of spells and incantations, concerned with protection against demons and disaster, spells for the healing of diseases, for long life and for various desires or aims in life.

The second part of the text contains speculative and philosophical hymns.

The Atharvaveda is a comparatively late extension of the "Three Vedas" connected to priestly sacrifice to a canon of "Four Vedas". This may be connected to an extension of the sacrificial rite from involving three types of priest to the inclusion of the Brahman
Brahman
In Hinduism, Brahman is the one supreme, universal Spirit that is the origin and support of the phenomenal universe. Brahman is sometimes referred to as the Absolute or Godhead which is the Divine Ground of all being...

 overseeing the ritual.

The Atharvaveda is concerned with the material world or world of man and in this respect differs from the other three vedas. Atharvaveda also sanctions the use of force, in particular circumstances and similarly this point is a departure from the three other vedas.

Brahmanas


{{See|Brahmanas}}
The mystical notions surrounding the concept of the one "Veda" that would flower in 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...

 philosophy have their roots already in Brahmana
Brahmana
The Brāhmaṇas are part of the Hindu śruti literature. They are commentaries on the four Vedas, detailing the proper performance of rituals....

 literature, for example in 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...

.
The Vedas are identified with Brahman
Brahman
In Hinduism, Brahman is the one supreme, universal Spirit that is the origin and support of the phenomenal universe. Brahman is sometimes referred to as the Absolute or Godhead which is the Divine Ground of all being...

, the universal principle (ŚBM 10.1.1.8, 10.2.4.6). Vāc
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...

 "speech" is called the "mother of the Vedas" (ŚBM 6.5.3.4, 10.5.5.1). The knowledge of the Vedas is endless, compared to them, human knowledge is like mere handfuls of dirt (TB
Taittiriya Shakha
The Taittiriya Shakha is a notable shakha of the Black Yajurveda. The Vishnu Purana attributes it to a pupil of Yaska named Tittiri. It is most prevalent in south India. The shakha consists of:...

 3.10.11.3-5). The universe itself was originally encapsulated in the three Vedas (ŚBM 10.4.2.22 has Prajapati
Prajapati
In Hinduism, Prajapati "lord of creatures" is a Hindu deity presiding over procreation, and protector of life. He appears as a creator deity or supreme God Viswakarma Vedic deities in RV 10 and in Brahmana literature...

 reflecting that "truly, all beings are in the triple Veda").

Vedanta



{{See|Vedanta|Upanishads|Aranyakas}}
While contemporary traditions continued to maintain Vedic ritualism (Śrauta
Srauta
' traditions are conservative ritualistic traditions of the historical Vedic religion in Hinduism, based on the body of Śruti literature...

, Mimamsa
Mimamsa
' , a Sanskrit word meaning "investigation" , is the name of an astika school of Hindu philosophy whose primary enquiry is into the nature of dharma based on close hermeneutics of the Vedas...

), Vedanta
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...

 renounced all ritualism and radically re-interpreted the notion of "Veda" in purely philosophical terms.
The association of the three Vedas with the bhūr bhuvaḥ svaḥ mantra is found in the Aitareya Aranyaka: "Bhūḥ is the Rigveda, bhuvaḥ is the Yajurveda, svaḥ is the Samaveda" (1.3.2). The Upanishads reduce the "essence of the Vedas" further, to the syllable Aum
Aum
Om or Aum Om or Aum Om or Aum (also , written in Devanāgari as and as , in Sanskrit known as (lit. "to sound out loudly"), ', or ' (also as ') (lit. "Auṃ form/syllable"), is a sacred/mystical syllable in the Dharmic or Indian religions, i.e...

 ({{Unicode|ॐ}}). Thus, the Katha Upanishad
Katha Upanishad
The Katha Upanishad , also titled "Death as Teacher", is one of the mukhya Upanishads commented upon by Shankara. It is associated with the school of the Black Yajurveda, and is grouped with the Sutra period of Vedic Sanskrit. It is a middle Upanishad...

  has:
"The goal, which all Vedas declare, which all austerities aim at, and which humans desire when they live a life of continence, I will tell you briefly it is Aum" (1.2.15)

Vedanga


{{Main|Vedanga}}
Six technical subjects related to the Vedas are traditionally known as
{{IAST|vedāṅga}} "limbs of the Veda". V. S. Apte defines this group of works as:

"N. of a certain class of works regarded as auxiliary to the Vedas and designed to aid in the correct pronunciation and interpretation of the text and the right employment of the
Mantras in ceremonials."


These subjects are treated in Sūtra
Sutra
Sūtra is an aphorism or a collection of such aphorisms in the form of a manual. Literally it means a thread or line that holds things together and is derived from the verbal root siv-, meaning to sew , as does the medical term...

 literature dating from the end of the Vedic period to Mauryan
Maurya Empire
The Maurya Empire was a geographically extensive Iron Age historical power in ancient India, ruled by the Mauryan dynasty from 321 to 185 BC...

 times, seeing the transition from late 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...

 to Classical 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...

.

The six subjects of Vedanga are:
  • Phonetics ({{IAST
    Shiksha
    Shiksha is one of the six Vedangas, treating the traditional Hindu science of phonetics and phonology of Sanskrit.Its aim is the teaching of the correct pronunciation of the Vedic hymns and mantras...

    )
  • Ritual ({{IAST
    Kalpa (Vedanga)
    Kalpa is one of the six disciplines of Vedanga, treating ritual.Tradition does not single out any special work in this branch of the Vedanga; but sacrificial practice gave rise to a large number of systematic sutras for the several classes of priests...

    )
  • Grammar ({{IAST
    Vyakarana
    The Sanskrit grammatical tradition of ' is one of the six Vedanga disciplines. It has its roots in late Vedic India, and includes the famous work, The Sanskrit grammatical tradition of ' is one of the six Vedanga disciplines. It has its roots in late Vedic India, and includes the famous work, ...

    )
  • Etymology (Nirukta
    Nirukta
    Nirukta is one of the six disciplines of Hinduism, treating etymology, particularly of obscure words, especially those occurring in the Vedas. The discipline is traditionally attributed to , an ancient Sanskrit grammarian...

    )
  • Meter ({{IAST
    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...

    )
  • Astronomy ({{IAST
    Vedanga Jyotisha
    The ' is an Indian text on Jyotisha, redacted by Lagadha .The text is foundational to the Vedanga discipline of Jyotisha. It is dated to the final centuries BCE...

    )

Parisista


{{Main|Parisista}}
{{IAST|Pariśiṣṭa}} "supplement, appendix" is the term applied to various ancillary works of Vedic literature, dealing mainly with details of ritual and elaborations of the texts logically and chronologically prior to them: the Samhita
Samhita
Samhita may refer to"*the basic metrical text of each of the Vedas**specifically, these texts with sandhi applied *post-Vedic texts known as Samhitas:** Ashtavakra Gita...

s, Brahmana
Brahmana
The Brāhmaṇas are part of the Hindu śruti literature. They are commentaries on the four Vedas, detailing the proper performance of rituals....

s, 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....

s and Sutras
Kalpa (Vedanga)
Kalpa is one of the six disciplines of Vedanga, treating ritual.Tradition does not single out any special work in this branch of the Vedanga; but sacrificial practice gave rise to a large number of systematic sutras for the several classes of priests...

. Naturally classified with the Veda to which each pertains, Parisista works exist for each of the four Vedas. However, only the literature associated with the Atharvaveda
Atharvaveda
The Atharvaveda is a sacred text of Hinduism and one of the four Vedas, often called the "fourth Veda"....

 is extensive.
  • The {{IAST|Āśvalāyana Gṛhya Pariśiṣṭa}} is a very late text associated with the Rigveda
    Rigveda
    The Rigveda is an ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns...

     canon.
  • The {{IAST|Gobhila Gṛhya Pariśiṣṭa}} is a short metrical text of two chapters, with 113 and 95 verses respectively.
  • The {{IAST|Kātiya Pariśiṣṭas}}, ascribed to {{IAST
    Katyayana
    Kātyāyana was a Sanskrit grammarian, mathematician and Vedic priest who lived in ancient India.-Works:He is known for two works:...

    , consist of 18 works enumerated self-referentially in the fifth of the series (the {{IAST
    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 ...

    )and the {{IAST|Kātyāyana Śrauta Sūtra Pariśiṣṭa}}.
  • The {{IAST|Kṛṣṇa}} Yajurveda
    Yajurveda
    The Yajurveda, a tatpurusha compound of "sacrificial formula', + ) is the third of the four canonical texts of Hinduism, the Vedas. By some, it is estimated to have been composed between 1400 and 1000 BC, the Yajurveda 'Samhita', or 'compilation', contains the liturgy needed to perform the...

     has 3 parisistas The {{IAST|Āpastamba Hautra Pariśiṣṭa}}, which is also found as the second praśna of the {{IAST|Satyasāḍha Śrauta Sūtra}}', the {{IAST|Vārāha Śrauta Sūtra Pariśiṣṭa}}
  • For the Atharvaveda, there are 79 works, collected as 72 distinctly named parisistas.

Puranas


{{Main|Puranas}}
A traditional view given in the Vishnu Purana
Vishnu Purana
The Vishnu Purana is a religious Hindu text and one of the eighteen Mahapuranas. It is considered one of the most important Puranas and has been given the name Puranaratna...

 (likely dating to the Gupta period
Gupta Empire
The Gupta Empire was an ancient Indian empire which existed approximately from 320 to 550 CE and covered much of the Indian Subcontinent. Founded by Maharaja Sri-Gupta, the dynasty was the model of a classical civilization. The peace and prosperity created under leadership of Guptas enabled the...

) attributes the current arrangement of four Vedas to the mythical sage Vedavyasa
Vyasa
Vyasa is a central and revered figure in most Hindu traditions. He is also sometimes called Veda Vyasa , or Krishna Dvaipayana...

. Puranic tradition also postulates a single original Veda that, in varying accounts, was divided into three or four parts. According to the Vishnu Purana
Vishnu Purana
The Vishnu Purana is a religious Hindu text and one of the eighteen Mahapuranas. It is considered one of the most important Puranas and has been given the name Puranaratna...

 (3.2.18, 3.3.4 etc.) the original Veda was divided into four parts, and further fragmented into numerous shakhas, by Lord 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....

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

, in the Dvapara Yuga
Dvapara Yuga
Dvapara Yuga or Dwapara Yuga is the third out of four yugas, or ages, described in the scriptures of Hinduism. This yuga comes after Treta Yuga and is followed by Kali Yuga...

; 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...

 (section 60) recounts a similar division by Vyasa, at the urging of Brahma
Brahma
Brahma is the Hindu god of creation and one of the Trimurti, the others being Vishnu and Shiva. According to the Brahma Purana, he is the father of Mānu, and from Mānu all human beings are descended. In the Ramayana and the...

. The Bhagavata Purana
Bhagavata purana
The Bhāgavata Purāṇa is one of the "Maha" Puranic texts of Hindu literature, with its primary focus on bhakti to the incarnations of Vishnu, particularly Krishna...

 (12.6.37) traces the origin of the primeval Veda to the syllable aum
Aum
Om or Aum Om or Aum Om or Aum (also , written in Devanāgari as and as , in Sanskrit known as (lit. "to sound out loudly"), ', or ' (also as ') (lit. "Auṃ form/syllable"), is a sacred/mystical syllable in the Dharmic or Indian religions, i.e...

, and says that it was divided into four at the start of Dvapara Yuga, because men had declined in age, virtue and understanding. In a differing account Bhagavata Purana (9.14.43) attributes the division of the primeval veda (aum) into three parts to the monarch Pururavas
Pururavas
Pururavas was the first king of the Aila dynasty or the Somavamsha. According to the Vedas, he is a mythological entity associated with the Surya and Usha , and is believed to resided in the middle region of the cosmos. The Rig Veda states that he was a son of Ila and was a pious king...

 at the beginning of Treta Yuga
Treta Yuga
Treta Yuga is the second out of four yugas, or ages of mankind, in the religion of Hinduism, and follows the Satya Yuga of perfect morality and precedes the Dvapara Yuga. The most famous events in this yuga were Lord Vishnu's fifth, sixth and seventh incarnations as Vamana, Parashurama and...

. The Mahabharata (santiparva 13,088) also mentions the division of the Veda into three in Treta Yuga.

Upaveda


The term upaveda ("applied knowledge") is used in traditional literature to designate the subjects of certain technical works. Lists of what subjects are included in this class differ among sources.
The Charanavyuha
Shaunaka
Shaunaka is the name applied to teachers, and to a Shakha of the Atharvaveda. It is especially the name of a celebrated Sanskrit grammarian, author of the , the , the and five Anukramaṇīs to the Rigveda. He is claimed as the teacher of Katyayana and especially of Ashvalayana, and is said to have...

 mentions four Upavedas:
  • Medicine ({{IAST
    Ayurveda
    Ayurveda or ayurvedic medicine is a system of traditional medicine native to India and a form of alternative medicine. In Sanskrit, words , meaning "longevity", and , meaning "knowledge" or "science". The earliest literature on Indian medical practice appeared during the Vedic period in India,...

    ), associated with the Rigveda
  • Archery (Dhanurveda
    Indian martial arts
    The Indian subcontinent is home to a variety of fighting styles. In Sanskrit they may be collectively referred to as ' or '. The former is a compound of the words and , meaning "knowledge of the sword" or "knowledge of weaponry"...

    ), associated with the Yajurveda
  • Music and sacred dance ({{IAST|Gāndharvaveda}}), associated with the Samaveda
  • Military science (Shastrashastra), associated with the Atharvaveda


But Sushruta
Sushruta Samhita
The Sushruta Samhita is a Sanskrit text, attributed to one Sushruta, foundational to Ayurvedic medicine , with innovative chapters on surgery....

 and Bhavaprakasha mention Ayurveda as an upaveda of the Atharvaveda. Sthapatyaveda (architecture), Shilpa Shastras
Shilpa Shastras
Shilpa Shastras is an umbrella term for numerous Hindu texts that describe manual arts, the standards for religious Hindu iconography, prescribing among other things, the proportions of a sculptured figure, as well as rules of Hindu architecture.Sixty-four such arts or crafts, sometimes called ...

 (arts and crafts) are mentioned as fourth upaveda according to later sources.

Buddhist and Jain views


Buddhism and Jainism do not reject the Vedas, but merely their absolute authority.{{Citation needed|date=August 2011}}

Buddhism


In the Buddhist Vinaya Pitaka
Vinaya Pitaka
The ' is a Buddhist scripture, one of the three parts that make up the Tripitaka. Its primary subject matter is the monastic rules for monks and nuns...

 of the Mahavagga (I.245) section the Buddha declared that the Veda in its true form was declared to the Vedic rishis "Atthako, Vâmako, Vâmadevo, Vessâmitto, Yamataggi
Jamadagni
Jamadagni is one of the Saptarishis in the seventh, i.e. the present Manvantara. He was a descendant of the sage Bhrigu, one of the Prajapatis created by Brahma, the God of Creation...

, Angiraso, Bhâradvâjo, Vâsettho
Vasistha
Vashist in the seventh, i.e the present Manvantara, and the Rajpurohit / Rajguru of the Suryavansha or Solar Dynasty. He was the mānasaputra of Brahma. He had in his possession the divine cow Kamadhenu, and Nandini her child, who could grant anything to their owners...

, Kassapo, and Bhagu" but that it was altered by a few Brahmins who introduced animal sacrifices. The Vinaya Pitaka's section Anguttara Nikaya: Panchaka Nipata says that it was on this alteration of the true Veda that the Buddha refused to pay respect to the Vedas of his time.

Also in the "Brahmana Dhammika Sutta" (II,7) of the Suttanipata section of Vinaya Pitaka there is a story of when the Buddha was in Jetavana village and there were a group of elderly Brahmin ascetics who sat down next to the Buddha and asked him, "Do the present Brahmans follow the same rules, practise the same rites, as those in the more ancient times?" The Buddha replied, "No." The elderly Brahmins asked the Buddha that if it were not inconvenient for him, that he would tell them of the Brahmana Dharma of the previous generation. The Buddha replied: "There were formerly rishis, men who had subdued all passion by the keeping of the sila precepts and the leading of a pure life...Their riches and possessions consisted in the study of the Veda and their treasure was a life free from all evil...The Brahmans, for a time, continued to do right and received in alms rice, seats, clothes, and oil, though they did not ask for them. The animals that were given they did not kill; but they procured useful medicaments from the cows, regarding the as friends and relatives, whose products give strength, beauty and health." So in this passage also the Buddha describes when the Brahmins were studying the Veda but the animal sacrifice customs had not yet began.

The Buddha was declared to have been born as a Brahmin who was a knower of the Vedas and its philosophies in a number of his previous lives according to Buddhist scriptures. Other Buddhas too were said to have been born as Brahmins that were trained in the Vedas.

The Mahasupina Jataka and Lohakumbhi Jataka declares that Brahmin Sariputra
Sariputra
Śāriputra or Sāriputta was one of two chief male disciples of the Buddha along with Maudgalyayana , counterparts to the nuns Khema and Uppalavanna, named the two chief female disciples...

 in a previous life was a Brahmin that prevented animal sacrifice by declaring that animal sacrifice was actually against the Vedas.

Jainism


A Jain sage intereprets the Vedic sacrifices as metaphorical:
"Body is the altar, mind is the fire blazing with the ghee of knowledge and burning the sacrificial sticks of impurities produced from the tree of karma;..."


Further, Jain Sage Jinabhadra in his Visesavasyakabhasya cites a numeber of passages from the Vedic Upanishads.

Jain are in conformity with the Vedas in reference to both the Vedas' and Jainism' acceptance of the 22 Tirthankaras:
Of Rishabha (1st Tirthankara Rishabha) is written:
"But Risabha went on, unperturbed by anything till he became sin-free like a conch that takes no black dot, without obstruction ... which is the epithet of the First World-teacher, may become the destroyer of enemies" (Rig Veda X.166)
Of Aristanemi (Tirthankara Neminatha) is written:
"So asmakam Aristanemi svaha Arhan vibharsi sayakani dhanvarhanistam yajatam visvarupam arhannidam dayase" (Astak 2, Varga 7, Rig Veda)

"Fifth" and other Vedas


Some post-Vedic texts, including the Mahabharata
Mahabharata
The Mahabharata is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India and Nepal, the other being the Ramayana. The epic is part of itihasa....

, the Natyasastra
Natya Shastra
The Natya Shastra is an ancient Indian treatise on the performing arts, encompassing theatre, dance and music. It was written during the period between 200 BC and 200 AD in classical India and is traditionally attributed to the Sage Bharata.The Natya Shastra is incredibly wide in its scope...

 and certain Puranas
Puranas
The Puranas are a genre of important Hindu, Jain and Buddhist religious texts, notably consisting of narratives of the history of the universe from creation to destruction, genealogies of kings, heroes, sages, and demigods, and descriptions of Hindu cosmology, philosophy, and geography.Puranas...

, refer to themselves as the "fifth Veda
Fifth Veda
The notion of a fifth veda , that is, of a text which lies outside than the four canonical Vedas but nonetheless has the status of a Veda, is one that has been advanced in a number of post-Vedic Hindu texts, in order to accord a particular text or texts and their doctrines with the timelessness and...

". The earliest reference to such a "fifth Veda" is found in the Chandogya Upanishad
Chandogya Upanishad
The Chandogya Upanishad is one of the "primary" Upanishads. Together with the Jaiminiya Upanishad Brahmana and the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad it ranks among the oldest Upanishads, dating to the Vedic Brahmana period....

. "Dravida Veda" is a term for canonical Tamil
Tamil language
Tamil is a Dravidian language spoken predominantly by Tamil people of the Indian subcontinent. It has official status in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and in the Indian union territory of Pondicherry. Tamil is also an official language of Sri Lanka and Singapore...

 Bhakti
Bhakti
In Hinduism Bhakti is religious devotion in the form of active involvement of a devotee in worship of the divine.Within monotheistic Hinduism, it is the love felt by the worshipper towards the personal God, a concept expressed in Hindu theology as Svayam Bhagavan.Bhakti can be used of either...

 texts.{{Citation needed|date=September 2008}}

Other texts such as the Bhagavad Gita
Bhagavad Gita
The ' , also more simply known as Gita, is a 700-verse Hindu scripture that is part of the ancient Sanskrit epic, the Mahabharata, but is frequently treated as a freestanding text, and in particular, as an Upanishad in its own right, one of the several books that constitute general Vedic tradition...

 or the Vedanta Sutras
Brahma Sutras
The Brahma sūtras , also known as Vedānta Sūtras , are one of the three canonical texts of the Vedānta school of Hindu philosophy. A thorough study of Vedānta requires a close examination of these three texts, known in Sanskrit as the Prasthanatrayi, or the three starting points...

 are considered shruti or "Vedic" by some Hindu denominations
Hindu denominations
Hinduism comprises numerous sects or denominations. The denominations are roughly comparable to different religions. The main divisions in current Hinduism are Shaivism, Shaktism, Vaishnavism, and Smartism...

 but not universally within Hinduism. The Bhakti movement
Bhakti movement
The Bhakti movement is a Hindu religious movement in which the main spiritual practice is loving devotion among the Shaivite and Vaishnava saints. The Bhakti movement originated in ancient Tamil Nadu and began to spread to the north during the late medieval ages when north India was under Islamic...

, and Gaudiya Vaishnavism
Gaudiya Vaishnavism
Gaudiya Vaishnavism is a Vaishnava religious movement founded by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in India in the 16th century. "Gaudiya" refers to the Gauḍa region with Vaishnavism meaning "the worship of Vishnu"...

 in particular extended the term veda to include the Sanskrit Epics and Vaishnavite devotional texts such as the Pancaratra
Pañcaratra
Pāñcarātra are the Vaishnava Sanskrit texts dedicated to worship of Narayana and form part of the Agamas.Unlike Vaikhanasa tradition, the Pancaratric tradition of Agamas prescribe image worship in the place of rituals like Yajnas, mentioned in the Vedas...

.

Western Indology


{{see|Sanskrit in the West}}
The study of Sanskrit in the West began in the 17th century. In the early 19th century, Arthur Schopenhauer
Arthur Schopenhauer
Arthur Schopenhauer was a German philosopher known for his pessimism and philosophical clarity. At age 25, he published his doctoral dissertation, On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason, which examined the four separate manifestations of reason in the phenomenal...

 drew attention to Vedic texts, specifically the Upanishads.
The importance of Vedic Sanskrit for Indo-European studies
Indo-European studies
Indo-European studies is a field of linguistics dealing with Indo-European languages, both current and extinct. Its goal is to amass information about the hypothetical proto-language from which all of these languages are descended, a language dubbed Proto-Indo-European , and its speakers, the...

 was also recognized in the early 19th century.
English translations of the Samhitas were published in the later 19th century, in the Sacred Books of the East
Sacred Books of the East
The Sacred Books of the East is a monumental 50-volume set of English translations of Asian religious writings, edited by Max Müller and published by the Oxford University Press between 1879 and 1910...

series edited by 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...

 between 1879 and 1910.
Ralph T. H. Griffith also presented English translations of the four Samhitas, published 1889 to 1899.

Literature


Overviews
  • J. Gonda, Vedic Literature: {{IAST|Saṃhitās and Brāhmaṇas}}, A History of Indian literature. Vol. 1, Veda and Upanishads (1975), ISBN 9783447016032.
  • J. A. Santucci, An Outline of Vedic Literature (1976).
  • S. Shrava, A Comprehensive History of Vedic Literature — Brahmana and Aranyaka Works, Pranava Prakashan (1977).


Concordances
  • M. Bloomfield, A Vedic Concordance (1907)
  • Vishva Bandhu, Bhim Dev, S. Bhaskaran Nair (eds.), {{IAST|Vaidika-Padānukrama-Koṣa}}: A Vedic Word-Concordance, Vishveshvaranand Vedic Research Institute, Hoshiarpur, 1963–1965, revised edition 1973-1976.


Conference proceedings
  • Griffiths, Arlo and Houben, Jan E. M. (eds.), The Vedas : texts, language & ritual: proceedings of the Third International Vedic Workshop, Leiden 2002, Groningen Oriental Studies 20, Groningen : Forsten, (2004), ISBN 90-6980-149-3.

External links


{{Commons category|Vedas}}
{{Wiktionary|Vedic}}
{{Wiktionary|Veda}}



{{Hindu deities and texts}}
{{Poetry of different cultures and languages}}