Introduction about Vedas
Veda is a Sanskrit word mean ‘’knowledge’’ was created, written with thousands and thousands of hymns and religious texts. Probably, it is not possible to learn Veda without assistance from proper intellectual or Guru. This larger body of religious texts is considered to be called ‘’sruti’’ that meant as heard or to hear. This compiles of religious texts are distinguishing themselves completely from other religious texts or ‘’Smriti’’ (remembrance). Vedas imitate the older style of literature in Sanskrit and the thesis of Iron Age. Nothing scores importance rather than a superhuman that is worshiped. It is Vyasa that is considered written or compiled Vedic works together, and he was the one who classified Vedas into four categories:
- Rig Veda
- Yajur Veda
- Sama Veda
- Atharva Veda.
Each class of Veda is subdivided into four major text groups such as Samhitas, Aranyakas, Brahmanas, and the Upanishads. Later great scholars raised the count to be five and included Upasanas. The last subdivision Upasanas correlates to the meaning of worship. It includes either god or superhuman. One of the two epics of India, Mahabharata, has surpassed that it is created by Brahma and the credit goes to him. Altogether putting the fact into consideration, it came to know Vedas are an essential tool to live, work or worship in the ancient period.
1. Rig Veda
Indian philosophical institutions and authorities are preaching their students that Vedas are influencing tool regarding the religions and traditions. Hence, they are considered orthodox rather the alternative traditions are called Heterodox or non-orthodox. The determined period of Rig Veda believed to be written between 900 BCE and 1200 BCE. Hopefully, Sanskrit is the language chosen using which the Rig Veda was written.
The deity of worship
Rig Veda has been divided or classified into 10 mandalas or books that indulged preaching the readers to perform various functions. One of the ten rituals is worshiping a deity that is included in the Hindu religion. Worshiping deity is considered as important as a Hindu should follow throughout his/her life.
Deities included in the Hindu religion are
The count goes infinity and ritual came into practice and being followed to date.
The hymns are propounded to follow the rituals of worshiping the god. The whole Rig Veda consists of hymns and prose-like texts influenced by hymns, indirectly. Suktas or stories that perform various eminent actions differing from each other are told innumerable times. Every suktas are known for their individuality.
These suktas are utilized on various occasions and rituals of the Hindu religion. For instance, to denote the importance of Hindu philosophy Rig Veda points out Tattvadnyan suktas that owes the significance of representing philosophy. Similar to this, some other suktas includes samskar suktas and Mantriki suktas known for distinguishing importance. Praiseworthy to read and chant the text and mantra of Rig Veda and it is performed by Brahmin.
Besides, the above-mentioned suktas, some other categories that is efficient rendering various actions. The suktas, in general, destined to teach day to day lifestyle is well taught in lautik sukta and that includes the morals of the King to rule and guide the fellowmen ship in the empire. Inclusive of those suktas i.e. apri suktas are related to arms like drums and weapons. It is very interesting to talk about all suktas but probably not possible without appropriate guidance.
Rig Veda had developed an impact regarding the thesis that the human being to lead the life. The content can be delivered in all languages but not sure to gain the ethnic rhythm that has achieved in the original version. The Hymns and its rhythms are not possibly gained with the other versions perhaps the Veda is translated in various other languages in and around India.
2. Yajur Veda
The next powerful and most wanted spiritual texts that are needed to be understood and translated for the sake of understanding are the Yajur Veda. The term ‘’yajur’’ is derived from the Sanskrit word yajus which meant as worship. Probably, Veda means Knowledge. On the whole, Yajur Veda is proclaimed to perform worship and rituals in the presence of knowledge and an attempt to gain the same. The actual period of origin of the Veda is yet unable to know but the scholars and legends of literature estimated that the Veda is coeval to the sequence Veda counts, Sama Veda and Atharva Veda. According to that, it is assumed to be written in the 1200 – 1000 BCE that is the contemporary Iron and Bronze Age of Hindu traditions.
Classification of Yajur Veda
Phenomenally, Yajur Veda is classified into two divisions as black or dark (Krishna) yajur Veda and white or bright (Sukla) yajur Veda. The dark division denotes the incomplete texts and the bright division includes the completed version that describes the dark and bright fortnights following every fifteen pakshas.
It is mentioned that Yajur Veda preaches the rituals and customs associated with worship that are needed to perform before yagna fire. Concerning this point and the paksha classifications, Yajur Veda showed up with three more consecutive layers as ancient and tradition layer, middle layer and the modern layer belonging to the modern era.
The ancient layer of Yajur Veda is known to consist of Samhitas counts up to 1875 based on the Rig Veda and its thesis. As per the named after the ancient layer, it is correlated belonging to the Rig Veda and its ideologies. The middle layer was stuffed with the most popular Brahmanas texts. Hopefully, these texts are based on the Upanishads that are preached well. Last but not least, the third modern layer comprises of various Upanishads and its philosophies like Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, Isha Upanishad, Taittiriya Upanishad, and similar other Upanishads. These sub-divisions are preached in the institutions of Hindu philosophy. Various scholars and religion elders had induced themselves to predict the age of Yajur Veda hardly it is not possible to ascertain how old the Yajur Veda is?
Variation in Recensions
Recension is the term that is meant to the revised edition and the corrected format of the content. The verses that sung in the name of god are revised periodically. Samhitas are those corrected versions of Recensions. Two distinctive recensions are being been being followed based on the paksha as Sukla and the Krishna recensions respectively. These recensions include various subdivisions of those few are known to survive the current period of the modern era. Numerous Sanskrit terminologies are used indicating the existence of surviving recensions. But hardly able to read or understand the suktas by own unless a preacher or teacher persists to.
Context of Yajur Veda
It is very important to say that there are about 1975 verses or songs written in the Yajur Veda that is compiled and arranged in the appropriate order for the ease of learners. Yajur Veda is the Veda of rituals that includes more number of cultural and customized traditions that are to be followed before the fire of Yagna. But the actual author of the Veda is not known specifically regardless it is Vyasa who compiled four types of Vedas.
3. Sama Veda
The third and interesting number listed in the collection of four Vedas is the Sama Veda that is brought in to light by the Vayu Rishi but he was not the actual author of the Veda. Sama Veda is a Sanskrit word that gives the meaning by dividing the word into two Sama and Veda. Sama means ‘’ melody’’ or ‘’song’’ however the Veda means ‘’knowledge’’ as it is. This third format of Veda is comprised of 1549 verses of those 75 that are derived from the Rig Veda. In other words, the Sama Veda is the alternative version of Rig Veda as the texts and hymns resemble the ancient Rig Veda, as a whole.
Highlights of Sama Veda
Phenomenal positive facts are hidden with the Sama Veda that is praised high comparatively to the Rig Veda. Simple words declare that Rig Veda is the word whereas the Sama Veda is the musical version of the same. Rig Veda is the context of verses that ought to read but the Sama Veda is the musical measure quite similar to the verses of the former one.
It is the Sama Veda that seems like a source for the Indian music chords and based on which the Carnatic music is designed. Vedic scholars find that it is better to preach Vedas in the musical format rather than read the text versions, blindly. Besides, singing the Richas (Shlokas) in Sama Veda is very determinative despite reading the text versions of Rig Veda.
An important point that Sama Veda does not contain the differing concept that was not told in former two Vedas but it is preaching the same concept of Rig Veda that was preached in musical theme. Similar to the highlights, there are several sayings propounded in Sama Veda that are needed to follow in the day to day life schedule.
Sayings in Sama Veda
- According to Sama Veda riches or Shlokas are compiled altogether to give a complete outlook of the version. Though it has derived from the foremost Rig Veda, its verses are raised with sacramental significance.
- There exists a belief that Indian Carnatic music is framed or organized from the hymns of Sama Veda. In other words, Sama Veda is the source that consisted of music notes for Indian Music as the name denotes ‘’knowledge of music’’ – Sama Veda. According to the Veda, Agni is the worshipping deity that is known to teach the right path that perpetuates to wisdom.
- The Veda teaches to love fellow beings.
- Not to hate even those who hate you. Be loved and love all.
- Personal cleanliness is the initial wealth that everyone needs to utter.
- Followers of Sama Veda bestow praise Agni that is free from ignorance, illiteracy, the darkness of life things.
Liturgically available Sama Veda is presumably known as existing from the same period as that of Rig Veda. As per the ancestral tradition, it is calculated to be dated from 1200 – 1000 BCE. Even today, schools of Indian philosophy and music of Indian classical and traditional styles are following the hymns or chants raised in the Sama Veda. These richas are converted to musical notes so that the musical aspirants pursue it. Numerous literature scholars have indulged themselves in the thesis of Sama Veda, to bring the essence of the content into the art of music. It is not possible to read the texts of Sama Veda unless you must hear the musical notes. The Upanishads and recensions are playing a key role in the epitome of Sama Veda.
4. Atharva Veda
The last in number placed in the list of four Veda is the ‘’Atharva Veda’’. This Sanskrit name means in many different matters and that it imposes the activities of day by day life. Atharva Veda contains about 730 hymns and 6000 mantras or short poems and hence the text resembles the ever former type of Vedas list, Rig Veda. It is believed that Atharva Veda is supposed to cure diseases of all categories and thus it is the Veda version related to medicine.
The term Atharva refers to various descriptions but on the whole, it is derived from Adharvanas whereas the Veda is the same as knowledge. This type of Veda is also determined as a knowledge storehouse of Adharvanas. Similar other meanings for Atharva are related to the Hindu deities.
- Atharva is the oldest name of Rishi that lived the ancient period and known to have written the text, Atharva Veda. Atharva is the other name of Lord Shiva.
- Atharva is the eldest son of Lord Brahma.
- Rishi Vashist and soma are also known as Atharva.
- Atharva is the literal meaning of Adharvanas.
Just like the above synonyms, many more other reasons are added to the name reason for Atharva. The texts mentioned in the Atharva Veda are powered curing the diseases. Hence, the Veda is related to medicine or it contains the remedy for diseases.
Period of compilation
It is believed that this fourth Veda, Atharva Veda is contemporaneous to the former Vedic scriptures Rig Veda and Sama Veda. The hymns and richas mentioned or praised in the Atharva Veda are comparatively the same in Rig Veda. Out of 730 hymns of Atharva Veda 70 – 80% of hymns are related to former Veda type. The Rishi named Atharvan was believed to compile the texts of Atharva Veda and hence the type is named after the Rishi.
It is estimated that around 1200 – 1000 BCE the Veda type was known to have written that denotes that Atharva Veda is coeval of Rig and Sama Vedas. As already told, Atharva Veda is not subjected to spell yagna and sacred verses for carrying out the rituals but it effluents the chants and mantras to heal the injuries and illness. Indigenous essence of Atharva Veda it bound to chant the mantras for recovering illness.
Sub classification of Atharva Veda
Vedic scriptures of Atharva Veda denote to be classified into 20 books out of which 730 hymns and 6000 poems are compiled. Just as Yajur Veda does the Atharva Veda is also classified into three indigenous layers that are followed by the recensions and Upanishads. School of Hindu philosophy and the scholars related to the institution are preaching that Upanishads including Mundaka Upanishad, Mundukya Upanishad and the third one Prashna Upanishad.
Similarly, the recensions of the Atharva Veda are not survived as such but present with fewer contexts. On that basis, Paippalada recension had survived and found to be the most ancient version. This recension teaches and preaches the day to day activities that are yet to follow perhaps the charms to heal a few diseases and illnesses. It was proved that Atharva Veda had nine differing Sakha’s that may classify the Veda type into nine recensions. Paippalada is one of the nine recensions that belong to the current era with the ancient point of view focused.
Atharva Veda is also called as ‘’Veda of magical formulae’’ that spells or chants the mantras to carry out the rituals. It had been proven practically that many Indologists is put a great effort to estimate the indigenous work on Atharva Veda. According to them, the fourth Veda includes the magical myth and contents for curing illness. The Veda gives appropriate chanting mantras or hymns to gain whatever individual wishes to get. For instance, chants specifying the intention of a healthy life, peace, nature of man, peace, good and evil.
Below are some general questions asked in regard to Vedas:
Are Vedas a reliable source of information?
To the actual point of view, Vedas are much reliable and resourcing the lifestyle of ancient indo-Aryan. It is only Vedas that provides you how to live, eat, study and behave in society, etc. Scholars emerge from the instinctive Vedic literature. This is the same Veda that preaches how to lead a happy life without provoking and disturbing others. Not the hymns alone but the sukthas and richas take part in the identity of Hinduism. Vedas are being the descriptive identity of old Hindu scriptures and liturgical ideology of ancient and modern Hindus. Even today, Hindus are following the rules and ideologies that are framed years and years ago.
Scholars and Indologists are undertaking research and theories that may help a human being in sustaining and obey the norms of life. Vedas are compiled by Veda Vyasa and he was believed as the incarnated source of almighty. It is not false that God had created and preached Vedas and its regulations to be followed years and years. Somebody may argue does God have a unique voice and image to preach all these Veda and Upanishads? Though nobody has visited God but could have come across feel him/her. The almighty persists unimaginable with no abrupt form and posture but it is said to believe that God resides in humanity. Taking care of fellow being is the great service rendered by a human to human. That is what preached in Vedas. Hence, Vedas are a reliable source of information. However, it has its definition all about humanity and the universe.
How old are Vedas?
This is not possible to fix. To measure and calculate the age of Vedas is certainly the mere waste of time. Centuries and centuries before, Vedas are believed created. No exact author or time of creation is clear. However, the oldest sacred texts are believed to establish its sources roughly dated to 1200 to 100 BCE. The revised editions and recensions exist to date with minute or major changes that could be done. A glimpse of Vedas is sprinkled around everywhere but the exact form of Vedas is compiled but not sure about the age of Vedas.
It was believed that the Samhitas, sukthas, and hymns are traces of Vedas that would justify as dated before the Iron Age and Bronze Age. Schools of Hindu philosophy and literature are preaching the content and ideologies of Vedas in the form of Samhitas, sukthas, and hymns. Particularly, the Yajur Veda is the Veda specially meant for musical chords and notes are believed created contemporaneously. Various research analysts and Indologists are trying hard recognizing the actual age of Vedas but they can do the approximate calculations, alone.
Can untouchables read Vedas?
There is no single word framed even as a synonym to the word ‘caste’. According to Veda, birth is not abrupt but can be made divine with the help of Vedas. It is the tool to lead calm, divine and cultural life. Not only studies but also women are prevented from reciting Vedas, Gayathri mantra and carrying out the upanayana ceremony. Vedas are not exact about the glory of birth and everyone is the same in accordance. That is everyone is born Shudras but tends to turn up as Dwija (Brahmanas, kshatriyas, and Vaisya) with the help of Vedas.
No sacred texts preaching moral values to humankind does preaching untouchability and caste difference among humans. It is all in the later period, the untouchability and caste difference raises its head. Mantras like Gayathri mantra and other Vedic Upanishads are preventing women from preaching just for the case and cause of women, in other words, to save women from hazards by chanting these mantras and sacred duties. It is believed or proved exactly that continuous chanting specific mantras by women would likely turn them infertile or impotent. This chanting practice of mantras is co-ordinate to the mooladhara chakras of the human body that might find an alternative swing in the genes of women. Unless genetic reasons, women are allowed to worship the deity and to carry out related rituals in pooja.
How human should live according to Veda?
Human life is uncertain but important duties that human beings should pursue in their lifetime are essential to attain Moksha. Attaining Moksha is not simple but need utterance to achieve, all it needs is to follow important activities throughout their life. Dharma, Artha, and Kaama are three activities described to utter.
Learning and preaching Veda is an essential tool to achieve dharma. With the help of Veda, humans achieve an abrupt way of living. The art of living is the wisdom of truth, being loyal, following dharma and other positive rules. Veda is not only the source of knowledge but pay actual attention to lead a disciplined and well-being life. Veda does not preach difference among humans by birth but preaches love, care, and truth.
Dharma is the ultimate path accessible to travel towards Moksha and Veda helps most learning and led a peaceful and happy life. Followed by Dharma, Artha means the goal that is fixed to achieve during a lifetime. Whereas Kaama is the utterance of love towards something, people thrive to achieve something is the utterance of Kaama. Giving up all the three obstacles, Dharma, Artha, and Kaama alone lead to the path of Moksha.
How is yoga described in Veda?
Yoga is the spiritual process accelerated physically by calm down the mental stress. Vedas does not fail to describe and teach Yoga. With the help of yoga, the virtue of divine is felt and mental stress is drained out. Of course! Yoga is preached and described in Vedas with appropriate verses and mantras. It requires perfect and enriched guidance to pursue positions.
The Vedic face of yoga is quite different and pure without any adulteration by the human mischievous interruption. It comes under the sixth school of Hindu tradition for philosophy and with regular practices both the mind and body utter relief and shine, respectively. Rishi Patanjali was bound to be the author of Yoga and restrained the physical postural mechanism while practicing yoga. With the help of yoga, one can achieve goodness both in physical and mental life. Today, yoga is being under practice all over the world with appropriate flying colors.