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{{pp|small=yes}}{{redirect-multi|2|Veda|Vedic}}{{EngvarB|date=March 2015}}{{Use dmy dates|date=March 2015}}{{Hindu scriptures}}FIle:Atharva-Veda samhita page 471 illustration.png|thumb|upright=1.2|The Vedas are ancient Sanskrit texts of Hinduism. Above: A page from the AtharvavedaAtharvavedaThe Vedas ({{IPAc-en|ˈ|v|eɪ|d|ə|z|,_|ˈ|v|iː|-}};"Veda". Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary. Sanskrit: {{IAST|veda}}, "knowledge") are a large body of religious texts originating in ancient India. Composed in Vedic Sanskrit, the texts constitute the oldest layer of Sanskrit literature and the oldest scriptures of Hinduism.see e.g. {{Harvnb|Radhakrishnan|Moore|1957|p=3}}; Witzel, Michael, "Vedas and {{IAST|Upaniṣads}}", in: {{Harvnb|Flood|2003|p=68}}; {{Harvnb|MacDonell|2004|pp=29–39}}; Sanskrit literature (2003) in Philip's Encyclopedia. Accessed 2007-08-09Sanujit Ghose (2011). "Religious Developments in Ancient India" in Ancient History Encyclopedia. Hindus consider the Vedas to be apauruṣeya, which means "not of a man, superhuman"Vaman Shivaram Apte, The Practical Sanskrit–English Dictionary, see apauruSeya and "impersonal, authorless".D Sharma, Classical Indian Philosophy: A Reader, Columbia University Press, pp. 196–197{{ISBN?}}Jan Westerhoff (2009), Nagarjuna's Madhyamaka: A Philosophical Introduction, Oxford University Press, {{ISBN|978-0195384963}}, p. 290Warren Lee Todd (2013), The Ethics of Śaṅkara and Śāntideva: A Selfless Response to an Illusory World, {{ISBN|978-1409466819}}, p. 128Vedas are also called {{IAST|śruti}} ("what is heard") literature,{{Harvnb|Apte|1965|p=887}} distinguishing them from other religious texts, which are called {{IAST|smṛti}} ("what is remembered"). The Veda, for orthodox Indian theologians, are considered revelations seen by ancient sages after intense meditation, and texts that have been more carefully preserved since ancient times.Sheldon Pollock (2011), Boundaries, Dynamics and Construction of Traditions in South Asia (Editor: Federico Squarcini), Anthem, {{ISBN|978-0857284303}}, pp. 41–58Hartmut Scharfe (2002), Handbook of Oriental Studies, Brill Academic, {{ISBN|978-9004125568}}, pp. 13–14 In the Hindu Epic the Mahabharata, the creation of Vedas is credited to Brahma.Seer of the Fifth Veda: Kr̥ṣṇa Dvaipāyana Vyāsa in the Mahābhārata Bruce M. Sullivan, Motilal Banarsidass, pp. 85–86 The Vedic hymns themselves assert that they were skillfully created by Rishis (sages), after inspired creativity, just as a carpenter builds a chariot.{{refn|group=note|"As a skilled craftsman makes a car, a singer I, Mighty One! this hymn for thee have fashioned. If thou, O Agni, God, accept it gladly, may we obtain thereby the heavenly Waters". – Rigveda 5.2.11, Translated by Ralph T.H. GriffithWEB, The Rig Veda/Mandala 5/Hymn 2,weblink }}According to tradition, Vyasa is the compiler of the Vedas, who arranged the four kinds of mantras into four Samhitas (Collections).BOOK, Veda and Torah: Transcending the Textuality of Scripture, Holdrege, Barbara A., 2012, SUNY Press, 9781438406954, 249, 250, en, BOOK,weblink The Vedas: An Introduction to Hinduism's Sacred Texts, Dalal, Roshen, 2014-04-15, Penguin UK, 9788184757637, en, There are four Vedas: the Rigveda, the Yajurveda, the Samaveda and the Atharvaveda.Bloomfield, M. The Atharvaveda and the Gopatha-Brahmana, (Grundriss der Indo-Arischen Philologie und Altertumskunde II.1.b.) Strassburg 1899; Gonda, J. A history of Indian literature: I.1 Vedic literature (Samhitas and Brahmanas); I.2 The Ritual Sutras. Wiesbaden 1975, 1977 Each Veda has been subclassified into four major text types – the Samhitas (mantras and benedictions), the Aranyakas (text on rituals, ceremonies, sacrifices and symbolic-sacrifices), the Brahmanas (commentaries on rituals, ceremonies and sacrifices), and the Upanishads (texts discussing meditation, philosophy and spiritual knowledge).Gavin Flood (1996), An Introduction to Hinduism, Cambridge University Press, {{ISBN|978-0521438780}}, pp. 35–39A Bhattacharya (2006), Hindu Dharma: Introduction to Scriptures and Theology, {{ISBN|978-0595384556}}, pp. 8–14; George M. Williams (2003), Handbook of Hindu Mythology, Oxford University Press, {{ISBN|978-0195332612}}, p. 285Jan Gonda (1975), Vedic Literature: (Saṃhitās and Brāhmaṇas), Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, {{ISBN|978-3447016032}} Some scholars add a fifth category – the Upasanas (worship).A Bhattacharya (2006), Hindu Dharma: Introduction to Scriptures and Theology, {{ISBN|978-0595384556}}, pp. 8–14Barbara A. Holdrege (1995), Veda and Torah: Transcending the Textuality of Scripture, State University of New York Press, {{ISBN|978-0791416402}}, pp. 351–357The various Indian philosophies and denominations have taken differing positions on the Vedas. Schools of India philosophy which cite the Vedas as their scriptural authority are classified as "orthodox" (āstika).{{refn|group=note|Elisa Freschi (2012): The Vedas are not deontic authorities in absolute sense and may be disobeyed, but are recognized as a deontological epistemic authority by a Hindu orthodox school;Elisa Freschi (2012), Duty, Language and Exegesis in Prabhakara Mimamsa, Brill, {{ISBN|978-9004222601}}, p. 62 (Note: This differentiation between epistemic and deontic authority is true for all Indian religions)}} Other śramaṇa traditions, such as Lokayata, Carvaka, Ajivika, Buddhism and Jainism, which did not regard the Vedas as authorities, are referred to as "heterodox" or "non-orthodox" (nāstika) schools.{{Harvnb|Flood|1996|p=82}}"astika" and "nastika". Encyclopædia Britannica Online, 20 Apr. 2016 Despite their differences, just like the texts of the śramaṇa traditions, the layers of texts in the Vedas discuss similar ideas and concepts.

Etymology and usage

The Sanskrit word {{IAST|véda}} "knowledge, wisdom" is derived from the root vid- "to know". This is reconstructed as being derived from the Proto-Indo-European root {{PIE|*u̯eid-}}, meaning "see" or "know",{{Harvnb|Monier-Williams|2006|p=1015}}; {{Harvnb|Apte|1965|p=856}} cognate to Greek "aspect", "form". This is not to be confused is the homonymous 1st and 3rd person singular perfect tense {{IAST|véda}}, cognate to Greek (w)oida "I know". Root cognates are Greek ἰδέα, English wit, etc., Latin videō "I see", etc.see e.g. Pokorny's 1959 Indogermanisches etymologisches Wörterbuch s.v. {{PIE|u̯(e)id-}}²; Rix' Lexikon der indogermanischen Verben, {{PIE|u̯ei̯d-}}.The Sanskrit term {{IAST|veda}} as a common noun means "knowledge".{{MWSD}}, p. 1015 The term in some contexts, such as hymn 10.93.11 of the Rigveda, means "obtaining or finding wealth, property",{{MWSD}}, p. 1017 (2nd Column) while in some others it means "a bunch of grass together" as in a broom or for ritual fire.{{MWSD}}, p. 1017 (3rd Column)A related word Vedena appears in hymn 8.19.5 of the Rigveda.Sanskrit: यः समिधा य आहुती यो वेदेन ददाश मर्तो अग्नये । यो नमसा स्वध्वरः ॥५॥, ऋग्वेद: सूक्तं ८.१९, Wikisource It was translated by Ralph T. H. Griffith as "ritual lore",K.F. Geldner, Der Rig-Veda, Harvard Oriental Series 33–37, Cambridge 1951 as "studying the Veda" by the 14th-century Indian scholar Sayana, as "bundle of grass" by Max Müller, and as "with the Veda" by H.H. Wilson.HH Wilson, Rig-veda Sanhita Sixth Ashtaka, First Adhayaya, Sukta VII (8.19.5), p. 291, Trubner LondonVedas are called Maṛai or Vaymoli in parts of South India. Marai literally means "hidden, a secret, mystery". But the Tamil Naan Marai mentioned in Tholkappiam isn't Sanskrit Vedas.Vasudha Narayanan (1994), The Vernacular Veda: Revelation, Recitation, and Ritual, University of South Carolina Press, {{ISBN|978-0872499652}}, p. 194John Carman (1989), The Tamil Veda: Pillan's Interpretation of the Tiruvaymoli, University of Chicago Press, {{ISBN|978-0226093055}}, pp. 259–261 In some parts of south India (e.g. the Iyengar communities), the word veda is used in the Tamil writings of the Alvar saints. Such writings include the Divya Prabandham (aka Tiruvaymoli).Vasudha Narayanan (1994), The Vernacular Veda: Revelation, Recitation, and Ritual, University of South Carolina Press, {{ISBN|978-0872499652}}, pp. 43, 117–119


The Vedas are among the oldest sacred texts.BOOK, Sagarika Dutt, India in a Globalized World,weblink 2006, Manchester University Press, 978-1-84779-607-3, 36, BOOK, Gabriel J. Gomes, Discovering World Religions,weblink 2012, iUniverse, 978-1-4697-1037-2, 54, The Samhitas date to roughly 1700–1100 BCE,BOOK, Science and Religion: One Planet, Many Possibilities, Lucas F. Johnston, Whitney Bauman, 179, 2014, Routledge, and the "circum-Vedic" texts, as well as the redaction of the Samhitas, date to c. 1000–500 BCE, resulting in a Vedic period, spanning the mid 2nd to mid 1st millennium BCE, or the Late Bronze Age and the Iron Age.Gavin Flood sums up mainstream estimates, according to which the Rigveda was compiled from as early as 1500 BCE over a period of several centuries. {{Harvnb|Flood|1996|p=37}}The Vedic period reaches its peak only after the composition of the mantra texts, with the establishment of the various shakhas all over Northern India which annotated the mantra samhitas with Brahmana discussions of their meaning, and reaches its end in the age of Buddha and Panini and the rise of the Mahajanapadas (archaeologically, Northern Black Polished Ware). Michael Witzel gives a time span of c. 1500 to c. 500–400 BCE. Witzel makes special reference to the Near Eastern Mitanni material of the 14th century BCE, the only epigraphic record of Indo-Aryan contemporary to the Rigvedic period. He gives 150 BCE (Patañjali) as a terminus ante quem for all Vedic Sanskrit literature, and 1200 BCE (the early Iron Age) as terminus post quem for the Atharvaveda.Witzel, Michael, "Vedas and {{IAST|Upaniṣads}}", in: {{Harvnb|Flood|2003|p=68}}Transmission of texts in the Vedic period was by oral tradition, preserved with precision with the help of elaborate mnemonic techniques. A literary tradition is traceable in post-Vedic times, after the rise of Buddhism in the Maurya period,{{refn|group=note|The early Buddhist texts are also generally believed to be of oral tradition, with the first Pali Canon written many centuries after the death of the Buddha.}} perhaps earliest in the Kanva recension of the Yajurveda about the 1st century BCE; however oral tradition of transmission remained active. Witzel suggests the possibility of written Vedic texts towards the end of 1st millennium BCE.Witzel, Michael, "Vedas and {{IAST|Upaniṣads}}", in: {{Harvnb|Flood|2003|p=69}}; For oral composition and oral transmission for "many hundreds of years" before being written down, see: {{Harvnb|Avari|2007|p=76}}. Some scholars such as Jack Goody state that "the Vedas are not the product of an oral society", basing this view by comparing inconsistencies in the transmitted versions of literature from various oral societies such as the Greek, Serbia and other cultures, then noting that the Vedic literature is too consistent and vast to have been composed and transmitted orally across generations, without being written down.BOOK, Jack Goody, The Interface Between the Written and the Oral,weblink 1987, Cambridge University Press, 978-0-521-33794-6, 110–121, However, adds Goody, the Vedic texts likely involved both a written and oral tradition, calling it a "parallel products of a literate society".JOURNAL, Donald S. Lopez Jr., 1995, Authority and Orality in the Mahāyāna, Numen, 42, 1, 21–47, 3270278, 10.1163/1568527952598800, 2027.42/43799,weblink 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.{{Citation | last = Brodd | first = Jeffrey | authorlink = | title = World Religions | publisher = Saint Mary's Press | year = 2003 | location = Winona, MN | pages = | url = | doi = | id = | isbn = 978-0-88489-725-5 }} The Sampurnanand Sanskrit University has a Rigveda manuscript from the 14th century;BOOK, Jamison, Stephanie W., Brereton, Joel P., The Rigveda,weblink vol. 1, 2014, Oxford University Press, 978-0-19-972078-1, 18, however, there are a number of older Veda manuscripts in Nepal that are dated from the 11th century onwards.WEB, Cultural Heritage of Nepal,weblink Nepal-German Manuscript Preservation Project, University of Hamburg, 4 November 2014, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 18 September 2014, dmy-all,

Ancient universities

The Vedas, Vedic rituals and its ancillary sciences called the Vedangas, were part of the curriculum at ancient universities such as at Taxila, Nalanda and Vikramashila.Buswell, Robert E.; Lopez, Jr., Donald S. (2013). The Princeton dictionary of Buddhism. Princeton: Princeton University Press. {{ISBN|9781400848058}}. Entry on "Nālandā".BOOK, Frazier, Jessica, The Continuum companion to Hindu studies, 2011, Continuum, London, 978-0-8264-9966-0, 34, BOOK, Walton, Linda, "Educational institutions" in The Cambridge World History Vol. 5, 2015, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 978-0-521-19074-9, 122, Sukumar Dutt (1988) [First published in 1962]. Buddhist Monks And Monasteries of India: Their History And Contribution To Indian Culture. George Allen and Unwin Ltd, London. {{ISBN|81-208-0498-8}}. pp. 332–333

Categories of Vedic texts

File:Rigveda MS2097.jpg|thumb|upright=1.35|Rigveda manuscript in DevanagariDevanagariThe term "Vedic texts" is used in two distinct meanings:
  1. Texts composed in Vedic Sanskrit during the Vedic period (Iron Age India)
  2. Any text considered as "connected to the Vedas" or a "corollary of the Vedas"according to ISKCON, Hindu Sacred Texts, "Hindus themselves often use the term to describe anything connected to the Vedas and their corollaries (e.g. Vedic culture)".

Vedic Sanskrit corpus

The corpus of Vedic Sanskrit texts includes:
  • The Samhitas (Sanskrit {{IAST|saṃhitā}}, "collection"), are collections of metric texts ("mantras"). There are four "Vedic" Samhitas: the Rig-Veda, Sama-Veda, Yajur-Veda, and Atharva-Veda, most of which are available in several recensions ({{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 BCE, dating to c. the 12th to 10th centuries BCE. The complete corpus of Vedic mantras as collected in Bloomfield's Vedic Concordance (1907) consists of some 89,000 padas (metrical feet), of which 72,000 occur in the four Samhitas.37,575 are Rigvedic. Of the remaining, 34,857 appear in the other three Samhitas, and 16,405 are known only from Brahmanas, Upanishads or Sutras
  • The Brahmanas are prose texts that comment and explain the solemn rituals as well as expound on their meaning and many connected themes. Each of the Brahmanas is associated with one of the Samhitas or its recensions.Klaus Klostermaier (1994), A Survey of Hinduism, Second Edition, State University of New York Press, {{ISBN|978-0791421093}}, pp. 67–69 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 Aranyakas, "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 ceremonies, from ritualistic to symbolic meta-ritualistic points of view. It is frequently read in secondary literature.
  • Older Mukhya Upanishads ({{IAST|Bá¹›hadāraṇyaka}}, Chandogya, {{IAST|Kaá¹­ha}}, Kena, Aitareya, and others).{{Harvnb|Michaels|2004|p=51}}.Witzel, Michael, "Vedas and {{IAST|Upaniá¹£ads}}", in: {{Harvnb|Flood|2003|p=69}}.
The Vedas (sruti) are different from Vedic era texts such as Shrauta Sutras and Gryha Sutras, which are smriti texts. Together, the Vedas and these Sutras form part of the Vedic Sanskrit corpus.For a table of all Vedic texts see Witzel, Michael, "Vedas and {{IAST|Upaniṣads}}", in: {{Harvnb|Flood|2003|pp=100–101}}.The Vedic Sanskrit corpus is incorporated in A Vedic Word Concordance ({{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.While production of Brahmanas and Aranyakas ceased with the end of the Vedic period, additional Upanishads were composed after the end of the Vedic period.{{Harvnb|Flood|2003|pp=100–101}}The Brahmanas, Aranyakas, and Upanishads, among other things, interpret and discuss the Samhitas in philosophical and metaphorical ways to explore abstract concepts such as the Absolute (Brahman), and the soul or the self (Atman), introducing Vedanta philosophy, one of the major trends of later Hinduism. In other parts, they show evolution of ideas, such as from actual sacrifice to symbolic sacrifice, and of spirituality in the Upanishads. This has inspired later Hindu scholars such as Adi Shankara to classify each Veda into karma-kanda (कर्म खण्ड, action/ritual-related sections) and jnana-kanda (ज्ञान खण्ड, knowledge/spirituality-related sections).Edward Roer (Translator), {{Google books|3uwDAAAAMAAJ|Shankara's Introduction}} to Brihad Aranyaka Upanishad at pp. 1–5; Quote: "The Vedas are divided in two parts, the first is the karma-kanda, the ceremonial part, also (called) purva-kanda, and treats on ceremonies; the second part is the jnana kanda, the part which contains knowledge, also named uttara-kanda or posterior part, and unfolds the knowledge of Brahma or the universal soul."

Shruti literature

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 the later Upanishads and the Sutra literature. Texts not considered to be shruti are known as smriti (Sanskrit: {{IAST|smṛti}}; "the remembered"), or texts of remembered traditions. This indigenous system of categorization was adopted by Max Müller 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, some in dialogue form. They are the foundation of Hindu philosophical thought and its diverse traditions.Wiman Dissanayake (1993), Self as Body in Asian Theory and Practice (Editors: Thomas P. Kasulis et al.), State University of New York Press, {{ISBN|978-0791410806}}, p. 39; Quote: "The Upanishads form the foundations of Hindu philosophical thought and the central theme of the Upanishads is the identity of Atman and Brahman, or the inner self and the cosmic self.";Michael McDowell and Nathan Brown (2009), World Religions, Penguin, {{ISBN|978-1592578467}}, pp. 208–210 Of the Vedic corpus, they alone are widely known, and the central ideas of the Upanishads are at the spiritual core of Hindus.Wendy Doniger (1990), Textual Sources for the Study of Hinduism, 1st Edition, University of Chicago Press, {{ISBN|978-0226618470}}, pp. 2–3; Quote: "The Upanishads supply the basis of later Hindu philosophy; they alone of the Vedic corpus are widely known and quoted by most well-educated Hindus, and their central ideas have also become a part of the spiritual arsenal of rank-and-file Hindus."Patrick Olivelle (2014), The Early Upanisads, Oxford University Press, {{ISBN|978-0195352429}}, p. 3; Quote: "Even though theoretically the whole of vedic corpus is accepted as revealed truth [shruti], in reality it is the Upanishads that have continued to influence the life and thought of the various religious traditions that we have come to call Hindu. Upanishads are the scriptures par excellence of Hinduism".

Vedic schools or recensions

The four Vedas were transmitted in various {{IAST|śākhā}}s (branches, schools).{{Harvnb|Flood|1996|p=39}}. Each school likely represented an ancient community of a particular area, or kingdom. Each school followed its own canon. Multiple recensions are known for each of the Vedas. Thus, states Witzel as well as Renou, in the 2nd millennium BCE, there was likely no canon of one broadly accepted Vedic texts, no Vedic “Scripture”, but only a canon of various texts accepted by each school. Some of these texts have survived, most lost or yet to be found. Rigveda that survives in modern times, for example, is in only one extremely well preserved school of Śåkalya, from a region called Videha, in modern north Bihar, south of Nepal.Jamison and Witzel (1992), Vedic Hinduism, Harvard University, p. 6 The Vedic canon in its entirety consists of texts from all the various Vedic schools taken together.Each of the four Vedas were shared by the numerous schools, but revised, interpolated and adapted locally, in and after the Vedic period, giving rise to various recensions of the text. Some texts were revised into the modern era, raising significant debate on parts of the text which are believed to have been corrupted at a later date.J. Muir (1868), {{Google books|HRYAAAAAYAAJ|Original Sanskrit Texts on the Origin and History of the People of India – their religion and institutions}}, 2nd Edition, p. 12Albert Friedrich Weber, {{Google books|Bi8JAAAAQAAJ|Indische Studien, herausg. von}}, Vol. 10, pp. 1–9 with footnotes (in German); For a translation, {{Google books|HRYAAAAAYAAJ|Original Sanskrit Texts}}, p. 14 The Vedas each have an Index or Anukramani, the principal work of this kind being the general Index or {{IAST|Sarvānukramaṇī}}.For an example, see Sarvānukramaṇī Vivaraṇa Univ of Pennsylvania rare texts collectionR̥gveda-sarvānukramaṇī Śaunakakr̥tāʼnuvākānukramaṇī ca, Maharṣi-Kātyayāna-viracitā, {{oclc|11549595}}Prodigious energy was expended by ancient Indian culture in ensuring that these texts were transmitted from generation to generation with inordinate fidelity.{{Harv|Staal|1986}} For example, memorization of the sacred Vedas included up to eleven forms of recitation 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 in the original order.{{Harv|Filliozat|2004|p=139}} That these methods have been effective, is attested to by the preservation of the most ancient Indian religious text, the Rigveda, as redacted into a single text during the Brahmana period, without any variant readings within that school.The Vedas were likely written down for the first time around 500 BCE.{{Harvnb|Avari|2007|pp=69–70}} However, all printed editions of the Vedas that survive in the modern times are likely the version existing in about the 16th century AD.Michael Witzel, "Vedas and {{IAST|Upaniṣads}}", in: {{Harvnb|Flood|2003|p=69}}, Quote: "... almost all printed editions depend on the late manuscripts that are hardly older than 500 years"

Four Vedas

{{Vedas and Shakhas}}The canonical division of the Vedas is fourfold ({{IAST|turīya}}) viz.,{{Harvnb|Radhakrishnan|Moore|1957|p=3}}; Witzel, Michael, "Vedas and {{IAST|Upaniṣads}}", in: {{Harvnb|Flood|2003|p=68}}
  1. Rigveda (RV)
  2. Yajurveda (YV, with the main division TS vs. VS)
  3. Samaveda (SV)
  4. Atharvaveda (AV)
Of these, the first three were the principal original division, also called "{{IAST|trayī vidyā}}"; that is, "the triple science" of reciting hymns (Rigveda), performing sacrifices (Yajurveda), and chanting songs (Samaveda).Witzel, M., "The Development of the Vedic Canon and its Schools : The Social and Political Milieu" in {{Harvnb|Witzel|1997|pp=257–348}}{{Harvnb|MacDonell|2004|pp=29–39}} The Rigveda is the oldest work, which Witzel states are probably from the period of 1900 to 1100 BCE. Witzel, also notes that it is the Vedic period itself, where incipient lists divide the Vedic texts into three (trayī) or four branches: Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva.Each Veda has been subclassified into four major text types – the Samhitas (mantras and benedictions), the Aranyakas (text on rituals, ceremonies such as newborn baby's rites of passage, coming of age, marriages, retirement and cremation, sacrifices and symbolic sacrifices), the Brahmanas (commentaries on rituals, ceremonies and sacrifices), and the Upanishads (text discussing meditation, philosophy and spiritual knowledge). The Upasanas (short ritual worship-related sections) are considered by some scholars as the fifth part. Witzel notes that the rituals, rites and ceremonies described in these ancient texts reconstruct to a large degree the Indo-European marriage rituals observed in a region spanning the Indian subcontinent, Persia and the European area, and some greater details are found in the Vedic era texts such as the Grhya Sūtras.Jamison and Witzel (1992), Vedic Hinduism, Harvard University, p. 21Only one version of the Rigveda is known to have survived into the modern era. Several different versions of the Sama Veda and the Atharva Veda are known, and many different versions of the Yajur Veda have been found in different parts of South Asia.Witzel, M., "The Development of the Vedic Canon and its Schools : The Social and Political Milieu" in {{Harvnb|Witzel|1997|p=286}}


  • Translation 2: BOOK, Kenneth Kramer, World Scriptures: An Introduction to Comparative Religions, 1986, Paulist Press, 978-0-8091-2781-8, 21,
  • Translation 3: BOOK, David Christian, Maps of Time: An Introduction to Big History, 2011, University of California Press, 978-0-520-95067-2, 17–18, }}
The Rigveda Samhita is the oldest extant Indic text.see e.g. {{Harvnb|Avari|2007|p=77}}. It is a collection of 1,028 Vedic Sanskrit hymns and 10,600 verses in all, organized into ten books (Sanskrit: mandalas).For 1,028 hymns and 10,600 verses and division into ten mandalas, see: {{Harvnb|Avari|2007|p=77}}. The hymns are dedicated to Rigvedic deities.For characterization of content and mentions of deities including Agni, Indra, Varuna, Soma, Surya, etc. see: {{Harvnb|Avari|2007|p=77}}.The books were composed by poets from different priestly groups over a period of several centuries from roughly the second half of the 2nd millennium BCE (the early Vedic period), starting with the Punjab (Sapta Sindhu) region of the northwest Indian subcontinent.see e.g. {{Harvnb|Avari|2007|p=77}} Max Müller gave 1700–1100 BCE, Michael Witzel gives 1450–1350 BCE as terminus ad quem. The Rigveda is structured based on clear principles – the Veda begins with a small book addressed to Agni, Indra, Soma and other gods, all arranged according to decreasing total number of hymns in each deity collection; for each deity series, the hymns progress from longer to shorter ones, but the number of hymns per book increases. Finally, the meter too is systematically arranged from jagati and tristubh to anustubh and gayatri as the text progresses.Witzel, M., "The Development of the Vedic Canon and its Schools : The Social and Political Milieu", Harvard University, in {{Harvnb|Witzel|1997|pp=261–264}} In terms of substance, the nature of hymns shift from praise of deities in early books to Nasadiya Sukta with questions such as, "what is the origin of the universe?, do even gods know the answer?", the virtue of Dāna (charity) in society,Original text translated in English: s:The Rig Veda/Mandala 10/Hymn 117|The Rig Veda]], Mandala 10, Hymn 117, Ralph T.H. Griffith (Translator);C Chatterjee (1995), Values in the Indian Ethos: An Overview, Journal of Human Values, Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 3–12 and other metaphysical issues in its hymns.For example,Hymn 1.164.34, "What is the ultimate limit of the earth?", "What is the center of the universe?", "What is the semen of the cosmic horse?", "What is the ultimate source of human speech?"Hymn 1.164.34, "Who gave blood, soul, spirit to the earth?", "How could the unstructured universe give origin to this structured world?"Hymn 1.164.5, "Where does the sun hide in the night?", "Where do gods live?"Hymn 1.164.6, "What, where is the unborn support for the born universe?";'Hymn 1.164.20 (a hymn that is widely cited in the Upanishads as the parable of the Body and the Soul): "Two birds with fair wings, inseparable companions; Have found refuge in the same sheltering tree. One incessantly eats from the fig tree; the other, not eating, just looks on.";Sources: (a) Antonio de Nicholas (2003), Meditations Through the Rig Veda: Four-Dimensional Man, {{ISBN|978-0595269259}}, pp. 64–69;Jan Gonda, A History of Indian Literature: Veda and Upanishads, Volume 1, Part 1, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, {{ISBN|978-3447016032}}, pp. 134–135;s:The Rig Veda/Mandala 1/Hymn 164|Rigveda Book 1, Hymn 164]] WikisourceThere are similarities between the mythology, rituals and linguistics in Rigveda and those found in ancient central Asia, Iranian and Hindukush (Afghanistan) regions.Michael Witzel, The Rigvedic religious system and its central Asian and Hindukush antecedents, in The Vedas – Texts, Language and Ritual, Editors: Griffiths and Houben (2004), Brill Academic, {{ISBN|978-9069801490}}, pp. 581–627


The Samaveda Samhita(from {{IAST|sāman}}, the term for a melody applied to a metrical hymn or a song of praise, {{Harvnb|Apte|1965|p=981}}. consists of 1549 stanzas, taken almost entirely (except for 75 mantras) from the Rigveda.Witzel, M., "The Development of the Vedic Canon and its Schools : The Social and Political Milieu" in {{Harvnb|Witzel|1997|pp=269–270}} The Samaveda samhita has two major parts. The first part includes four melody collections (gāna, गान) and the second part three verse “books” (ārcika, आर्चिक). A melody in the song books corresponds to a verse in the arcika books. Just as in the Rigveda, the early sections of Samaveda typically begin with hymns to Agni and Indra but shift to the abstract. Their meters shift also in a descending order. The songs in the later sections of the Samaveda have the least deviation from the hymns derived from the Rigveda.In the Samaveda, some of the Rigvedic verses are repeated.M Bloomfield, {{Google books|DigYAAAAYAAJ|Rig-veda Repetitions|page=402}}, pp. 402–464 Including repetitions, there are a total of 1875 verses numbered in the Samaveda recension translated by Griffith.For 1875 total verses, see the numbering given in Ralph T. H. Griffith. Griffith's introduction mentions the recension history for his text. Repetitions may be found by consulting the cross-index in Griffith pp. 491–499. Two major recensions have survived, the Kauthuma/Ranayaniya and the Jaiminiya. Its purpose was liturgical, and they were the repertoire of the {{IAST|udgātṛ}} or "singer" priests.Annette Wilke and Oliver Moebus (2011), Sound and Communication: An Aesthetic Cultural History of Sanskrit Hinduism, Walter de Gruyter, {{ISBN|978-3110181593}}, p. 381


The Yajurveda Samhita consists of prose mantras.Michael Witzel (2003), "Vedas and Upaniṣads", in The Blackwell Companion to Hinduism (Editor: Gavin Flood), Blackwell, {{ISBN|0-631215352}}, pp. 76–77 It is a compilation of ritual offering formulas that were said by a priest while an individual performed ritual actions such as those before the yajna fire.(File:Taittiriya Samhita Vedas, Devanagari script, Sanskrit pliv.jpg|thumb|A page from the Taittiriya Samhita, a layer of text within the Yajurveda)The earliest and most ancient layer of Yajurveda samhita includes about 1,875 verses, that are distinct yet borrow and build upon the foundation of verses in Rigveda.Antonio de Nicholas (2003), Meditations Through the Rig Veda: Four-Dimensional Man, {{ISBN|978-0595269259}}, pp. 273–274 Unlike the Samaveda which is almost entirely based on Rigveda mantras and structured as songs, the Yajurveda samhitas are in prose and linguistically, they are different from earlier Vedic texts.Witzel, M., "The Development of the Vedic Canon and its Schools : The Social and Political Milieu" in {{Harvnb|Witzel|1997|pp=270–271}} The Yajur Veda has been the primary source of information about sacrifices during Vedic times and associated rituals.Witzel, M., "The Development of the Vedic Canon and its Schools : The Social and Political Milieu" in {{Harvnb|Witzel|1997|pp=272–274}}There are two major groups of texts in this Veda: the "Black" (Krishna) and the "White" (Shukla). The term "black" implies "the un-arranged, motley collection" of verses in Yajurveda, in contrast to the "white" (well arranged) Yajurveda.Paul Deussen, Sixty Upanishads of the Veda, Volume 1, Motilal Banarsidass, {{ISBN|978-8120814684}}, pp. 217–219 The White Yajurveda separates the Samhita from its Brahmana (the Shatapatha Brahmana), the Black Yajurveda intersperses the Samhita with Brahmana commentary. Of the Black Yajurveda, texts from four major schools have survived (Maitrayani, Katha, Kapisthala-Katha, Taittiriya), while of the White Yajurveda, two (Kanva and Madhyandina).{{Harvnb|Michaels|2004|p=52 Table 3}}CL Prabhakar (1972), The Recensions of the Sukla Yajurveda, Archív Orientální, Volume 40, Issue 1, pp. 347–353 The youngest layer of Yajurveda text is not related to rituals nor sacrifice, it includes the largest collection of primary Upanishads, influential to various schools of Hindu philosophy.Paul Deussen, The Philosophy of the Upanishads, Motilal Banarsidass (2011 Edition), {{ISBN|978-8120816206}}, p. 23Patrick Olivelle (1998), Upaniṣhads, Oxford University Press, {{ISBN|0-19-282292-6}}, pp. 1–17


The Artharvaveda Samhita is the text 'belonging to the Atharvan and Angirasa poets. It has about 760 hymns, and about 160 of the hymns are in common with the Rigveda.{{Harvnb|Michaels|2004|p=56}}. Most of the verses are metrical, but some sections are in prose. Two different versions of the text – the {{IAST|Paippalāda}} and the {{IAST|Śaunakīya}} – have survived into the modern times.Frits Staal (2009), Discovering the Vedas: Origins, Mantras, Rituals, Insights, Penguin, {{ISBN|978-0143099864}}, pp. 136–137 The Atharvaveda was not considered as a Veda in the Vedic era, and was accepted as a Veda in late 1st millennium BCE.Frits Staal (2009), Discovering the Vedas: Origins, Mantras, Rituals, Insights, Penguin, {{ISBN|978-0143099864}}, p. 135Alex Wayman (1997), Untying the Knots in Buddhism, Motilal Banarsidass, {{ISBN|978-8120813212}}, pp. 52–53 It was compiled last,"The latest of the four Vedas, the Atharva-Veda, is, as we have seen, largely composed of magical texts and charms, but here and there we find cosmological hymns which anticipate the Upanishads, – hymns to Skambha, the 'Support', who is seen as the first principle which is both the material and efficient cause of the universe, to Prāna, the 'Breath of Life', to Vāc, the 'Word', and so on." {{Harvnb|Zaehner|1966|p=vii}}. probably around 900 BCE, although some of its material may go back to the time of the Rigveda,{{Harvnb|Flood|1996|p=37}}. or earlier.The Atharvaveda is sometimes called the "Veda of magical formulas",Laurie Patton (2004), Veda and Upanishad, in The Hindu World (Editors: Sushil Mittal and Gene Thursby), Routledge, {{ISBN|0-415215277}}, p. 38 an epithet declared to be incorrect by other scholars.Jan Gonda (1975), Vedic Literature: Saṃhitās and Brāhmaṇas, Vol 1, Fasc. 1, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, {{ISBN|978-3447016032}}, pp. 277–280, Quote: "It would be incorrect to describe the Atharvaveda Samhita as a collection of magical formulas". The Samhita layer of the text likely represents a developing 2nd millennium BCE tradition of magico-religious rites to address superstitious anxiety, spells to remove maladies believed to be caused by demons, and herbs- and nature-derived potions as medicine.Kenneth Zysk (2012), Understanding Mantras (Editor: Harvey Alper), Motilal Banarsidass, {{ISBN|978-8120807464}}, pp. 123–129On magic spells and charms, such as those to gain better health: Atharva Veda 2.32 Bhaishagykni, Charm to secure perfect health Maurice Bloomfield (Translator), Sacred Books of the East, Vol. 42, Oxford University Press; see also chapters 3.11, 3.31, 4.10, 5.30, 19.26; On finding a good husband: Atharva Veda 4.2.36 Strijaratani Maurice Bloomfield (Translator), Sacred Books of the East, Vol. 42, Oxford University Press; Atharvaveda dedicates over 30 chapters to love relationships, sexuality and for conceiving a child, see e.g. chapters 1.14, 2.30, 3.25, 6.60, 6.78, 6.82, 6.130–6.132; On peaceful social and family relationships: Atharva Veda 6.3.30 Maurice Bloomfield (Translator), Sacred Books of the East, Vol. 42, Oxford University Press; The text, states Kenneth Zysk, is one of oldest surviving record of the evolutionary practices in religious medicine and reveals the "earliest forms of folk healing of Indo-European antiquity".Kenneth Zysk (1993), Religious Medicine: The History and Evolution of Indian Medicine, Routledge, {{ISBN|978-1560000761}}, pp. x–xii Many books of the Atharvaveda Samhita are dedicated to rituals without magic, such as to philosophical speculations and to theosophy.The Atharva veda has been a primary source for information about Vedic culture, the customs and beliefs, the aspirations and frustrations of everyday Vedic life, as well as those associated with kings and governance. The text also includes hymns dealing with the two major rituals of passage – marriage and cremation. The Atharva Veda also dedicates significant portion of the text asking the meaning of a ritual.Witzel, M., "The Development of the Vedic Canon and its Schools : The Social and Political Milieu" in {{Harvnb|Witzel|1997|pp=275–276}}

Embedded Vedic texts

{{multiple image
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| footer = Manuscripts of the Vedas are in the Sanskrit language, but in many regional scripts in addition to the Devanagari. Top: Grantha script (Tamil Nadu), Below: Malayalam script (Kerala).
| image1 = Vedas palm leaf manuscript, Tamil Grantha Script, Sanskrit, Tamil Nadu.jpg
| image2 = 16th century Vedas palm leaf manuscript, Malayalam Script, Sanskrit, Kerala.jpg


{{Further information|Brahmanas}}The Brahmanas are commentaries, explanation of proper methods and meaning of Vedic Samhita rituals in the four Vedas. They also incorporate myths, legends and in some cases philosophy.Klaus Klostermaier (1994), A Survey of Hinduism, Second Edition, State University of New York Press, {{ISBN|978-0791421093}}, pp. 67–69Brahmana Encyclopædia Britannica (2013) Each regional Vedic shakha (school) has its own operating manual-like Brahmana text, most of which have been lost.Moriz Winternitz (2010), A History of Indian Literature, Volume 1, Motilal Banarsidass, {{ISBN|978-8120802643}}, pp. 175–176 A total of 19 Brahmana texts have survived into modern times: two associated with the Rigveda, six with the Yajurveda, ten with the Samaveda and one with the Atharvaveda. The oldest dated to about 900 BCE, while the youngest Brahmanas (such as the Shatapatha Brahmana), were complete by about 700 BCE.Michael Witzel, "Tracing the Vedic dialects" in Dialectes dans les litteratures Indo-Aryennes ed. Caillat, Paris, 1989, 97–265.Biswas et al (1989), Cosmic Perspectives, Cambridge University Press, {{ISBN|978-0521343541}}, pp. 42–43 According to Jan Gonda, the final codification of the Brahmanas took place in pre-Buddhist times (ca. 600 BCE).Klaus Klostermaier (1994), A Survey of Hinduism, Second Edition, State University of New York Press, {{ISBN|978-0791421093}}, p. 67The substance of the Brahmana text varies with each Veda. For example, the first chapter of the Chandogya Brahmana, one of the oldest Brahmanas, includes eight ritual suktas (hymns) for the ceremony of marriage and rituals at the birth of a child.Paul Deussen, Sixty Upanishads of the Veda, Volume 1, Motilal Banarsidass, {{ISBN|978-8120814684}}, p. 63 The first hymn is a recitation that accompanies offering a Yajna oblation to Agni (fire) on the occasion of a marriage, and the hymn prays for prosperity of the couple getting married.Max Müller, Chandogya Upanishad, The Upanishads, Part I, Oxford University Press, p. lxxxvii with footnote 2{{Google books|sqqgAAAAMAAJ|The Development of the Female Mind in India|page=27}}, The Calcutta Review, Volume 60, p. 27 The second hymn wishes for their long life, kind relatives, and a numerous progeny. The third hymn is a mutual marriage pledge, between the bride and groom, by which the two bind themselves to each other. The sixth through last hymns of the first chapter in Chandogya Brahmana are ritual celebrations on the birth of a child and wishes for health, wealth, and prosperity with a profusion of cows and artha. However, these verses are incomplete expositions, and their complete context emerges only with the Samhita layer of text.Jan Gonda (1975), Vedic Literature: (Saṃhitās and Brāhmaṇas), Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, {{ISBN|978-3447016032}}, pp. 319–322, 368–383 with footnotes

Aranyakas and Upanishads

{{Further information|Vedanta|Upanishads|Aranyakas}}The Aranyakas layer of the Vedas include rituals, discussion of symbolic meta-rituals, as well as philosophical speculations.Jan Gonda (1975), Vedic Literature: (Saṃhitās and Brāhmaṇas), Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, {{ISBN|978-3447016032}}, pp. 424–426Aranyakas, however, neither are homogeneous in content nor in structure. They are a medley of instructions and ideas, and some include chapters of Upanishads within them. Two theories have been proposed on the origin of the word Aranyakas. One theory holds that these texts were meant to be studied in a forest, while the other holds that the name came from these being the manuals of allegorical interpretation of sacrifices, for those in Vanaprastha (retired, forest-dwelling) stage of their life, according to the historic age-based Ashrama system of human life.AB Keith (2007), The Religion and Philosophy of the Veda and Upanishads, Motilal Banarsidass, {{ISBN|978-8120806443}}, pp. 489–490The Upanishads reflect the last composed layer of texts in the Vedas. They are commonly referred to as Vedānta, variously interpreted to mean either the "last chapters, parts of the Vedas" or "the object, the highest purpose of the Veda".Max Müller, The Upanishads, Part 1, Oxford University Press, p. lxxxvi footnote 1 The concepts of Brahman (Ultimate Reality) and Ātman (Soul, Self) are central ideas in all the Upanishads,{{sfn|Mahadevan|1956|p=59}}PT Raju (1985), Structural Depths of Indian Thought, State University of New York Press, {{ISBN|978-0887061394}}, pp. 35–36 and "Know your Ātman" their thematic focus.WD Strappini, {{Google books|111FAAAAYAAJ|The Upanishads|page=258}}, The Month and Catholic Review, Vol. 23, Issue 42 The Upanishads are the foundation of Hindu philosophical thought and its diverse traditions.Wiman Dissanayake (1993), Self as Body in Asian Theory and Practice (Editors: Thomas P. Kasulis et al), State University of New York Press, {{ISBN|978-0791410806}}, p. 39; Quote: "The Upanishads form the foundations of Hindu philosophical thought and the central theme of the Upanishads is the identity of Atman and Brahman, or the inner self and the cosmic self.";Michael McDowell and Nathan Brown (2009), World Religions, Penguin, {{ISBN|978-1592578467}}, pp. 208–210 Of the Vedic corpus, they alone are widely known, and the central ideas of the Upanishads have influenced the diverse traditions of Hinduism.Patrick Olivelle (2014), The Early Upanisads, Oxford University Press, {{ISBN|978-0195352429}}, p. 3; Quote: "Even though theoretically the whole of vedic corpus is accepted as revealed truth [shruti], in reality it is the Upanishads that have continued to influence the life and thought of the various religious traditions that we have come to call Hindu. Upanishads are the scriptures par excellence of Hinduism".Aranyakas are sometimes identified as karma-kanda (ritualistic section), while the Upanishads are identified as jnana-kanda (spirituality section).See {{Google books|3uwDAAAAMAAJ|Shankara's Introduction}} to Brihad Aranyaka Upanishad at pp. 1–5; Quote: "The Vedas are divided in two parts, the first is the karma-kanda, the ceremonial part, also (called) purva-kanda, and treats on ceremonies; the second part is the jnana kanda, the part which contains knowledge, also named uttara-kanda or posterior part, and unfolds the knowledge of Brahma or the universal soul." (Translator: Edward Roer) In an alternate classification, the early part of Vedas are called Samhitas and the commentary are called the Brahmanas which together are identified as the ceremonial karma-kanda, while Aranyakas and Upanishads are referred to as the jnana-kanda.Stephen Knapp (2005), The Heart of Hinduism: The Eastern Path to Freedom, Empowerment and Illumination, {{ISBN|978-0595350759}}, pp. 10–11

Post-Vedic literature


The Vedangas developed towards the end of the vedic period, around or after the middle of the 1st millennium BCE. These auxiliary fields of Vedic studies emerged because the language of the Vedas, composed centuries earlier, became too archaic to the people of that time.{{Sfn|Patrick Olivelle |1999 |page=xxiii}} The Vedangas were sciences that focused on helping understand and interpret the Vedas that had been composed many centuries earlier.{{Sfn|Patrick Olivelle |1999 |page=xxiii}}The six subjects of Vedanga are phonetics ({{IAST|Śikṣā}}), poetic meter ({{IAST|Chandas}}), grammar ({{IAST|Vyākaraṇa}}), etymology and linguistics (Nirukta), rituals and rites of passage ({{IAST|Kalpa}}), time keeping and astronomy ({{IAST|Jyotiṣa}}).James Lochtefeld (2002), "Vedanga" in The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Vol. 1: A–M, Rosen Publishing, {{ISBN|0-8239-2287-1}}, pp. 744–745{{Sfn|Annette Wilke|Oliver Moebus|2011|pp=391–394 with footnotes, 416–419}}{{Sfn|Harold G. Coward|1990|pp=105–110}}Vedangas developed as ancillary studies for the Vedas, but its insights into meters, structure of sound and language, grammar, linguistic analysis and other subjects influenced post-Vedic studies, arts, culture and various schools of Hindu philosophy.BOOK, The Encyclopædia Britannica: A Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, Literature and General Information,weblink 1911, Encyclopædia Britannica, 161, {{Sfn|Annette Wilke|Oliver Moebus|2011|pp=472–532}}{{Sfn|Harold G. Coward|1990|p=18}} The Kalpa Vedanga studies, for example, gave rise to the Dharma-sutras, which later expanded into Dharma-shastras.{{Sfn|Patrick Olivelle |1999 |page=xxiii}}BOOK, Rajendra Prasad, A Historical-developmental Study of Classical Indian Philosophy of Morals,weblink 2009, Concept, 978-81-8069-595-7, 147,


{{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 Samhitas, Brahmanas, Aranyakas and Sutras. 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 is extensive.
  • The {{IAST|Āśvalāyana Gá¹›hya PariÅ›iṣṭa}} is a very late text associated with the Rigveda canon.
  • The {{IAST|Gobhila Gá¹›hya PariÅ›iṣṭa}} is a short metrical text of two chapters, with 113 and 95 verses respectively.
  • The {{IAST|Kātiya PariÅ›iṣṭas}}, ascribed to {{IAST|Kātyāyana}}, consist of 18 works enumerated self-referentially in the fifth of the series (the {{IAST|CaraṇavyÅ«ha}}) and the {{IAST|Kātyāyana Åšrauta SÅ«tra PariÅ›iṣṭa}}.
  • The {{IAST|Kṛṣṇa}} Yajurveda has 3 parisistas The {{IAST|Ä€pastamba Hautra PariÅ›iṣṭa}}, which is also found as the second praÅ›na of the {{IAST|Satyasāḍha Åšrauta SÅ«tra}}', the {{IAST|Vārāha Åšrauta SÅ«tra PariÅ›iṣṭa}}
  • For the Atharvaveda, there are 79 works, collected as 72 distinctly named parisistas.BR Modak, The Ancillary Literature of the Atharva-Veda, New Delhi, Rashtriya Veda Vidya Pratishthan, 1993, {{ISBN|81-215-0607-7}}


The term upaveda ("applied knowledge") is used in traditional literature to designate the subjects of certain technical works.{{Harvnb|Monier-Williams|2006|p=207}}. weblink Accessed 5 April 2007.{{Harvnb|Apte|1965|p=293}}. Lists of what subjects are included in this class differ among sources.The Charanavyuha mentions four Upavedas:WEB,weblink Upaveda, Oxford University Press, 7 December 2014,
  • Archery (Dhanurveda), associated with the Yajurveda
  • Architecture (Sthapatyaveda), associated with the RigVeda.
  • Music and sacred dance ({{IAST|Gāndharvaveda}}), associated with the Samaveda
  • Medicine ({{IAST|Ä€yurveda}}), associated with the Atharvaveda.JOURNAL, Narayanaswamy, V., Origin and Development of Ayurveda: A Brief History, Ancient Science of Life, 1, 1, 1–7, 1981, 3336651, 22556454, BOOK, Frawley, David, Ranade, Subhash, Ayurveda, Nature's Medicine, 2001, Lotus Press, 11,weblink 6 January 2015, 9780914955955,

"Fifth" and other Vedas

Some post-Vedic texts, including the Mahabharata, the NatyasastraPaul Kuritz (1988), The Making of Theatre History, Prentice Hall, {{ISBN|978-0135478615}}, p. 68 and certain Puranas, refer to themselves as the "fifth Veda".{{Harvnb|Sullivan|1994|p=385}} The earliest reference to such a "fifth Veda" is found in the Chandogya Upanishad in hymn 7.1.2.Sanskrit original: Chandogya Upanishad, Wikisource;English translation: Chandogya Upanishad 7.1.2, G Jha (Translator), Oriental Book Agency, p. 368THE MIRROR OF GESTUREPUBLISHER=HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESSPAGES=2–4,weblink }}"Divya Prabandha", for example Tiruvaymoli, is a term for canonical Tamil texts considered as Vernacular Veda by some South Indian Hindus.Other texts such as the Bhagavad Gita or the Vedanta Sutras are considered shruti or "Vedic" by some Hindu denominations but not universally within Hinduism. The Bhakti movement, and Gaudiya Vaishnavism in particular extended the term veda to include the Sanskrit Epics and Vaishnavite devotional texts such as the Pancaratra.{{Citation| first = Satsvarupa| last = Goswami| author-link = Satsvarupa dasa Goswami| title =Readings in Vedic Literature: The Tradition Speaks for Itself| publisher =Assoc Publishing Group| year = 1976| page = 240| isbn = 978-0-912776-88-0| location = S.l. }}


The Puranas is a vast genre of encyclopedic Indian literature about a wide range of topics particularly myths, legends and other traditional lore.Greg Bailey (2001), Encyclopedia of Asian Philosophy (Editor: Oliver Leaman), Routledge, {{ISBN|978-0415172813}}, pp. 437–439 Several of these texts are named after major Hindu deities such as Vishnu, Shiva and Devi.Ludo Rocher (1986), The Puranas, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, {{ISBN|978-3447025225}}, pp. 1–5, 12–21BOOK, Nair, Shantha N., Echoes of Ancient Indian Wisdom: The Universal Hindu Vision and Its Edifice, 2008, Hindology Books, 978-81-223-1020-7, 266,weblink There are 18 Maha Puranas (Great Puranas) and 18 Upa Puranas (Minor Puranas), with over 400,000 verses.The Puranas have been influential in the Hindu culture.Ludo Rocher (1986), The Puranas, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, {{ISBN|978-3447025225}}, pp. 12–13, 134–156, 203–210Greg Bailey (2001), Encyclopedia of Asian Philosophy (Editor: Oliver Leaman), Routledge, {{ISBN|978-0415172813}}, pp. 442–443 They are considered Vaidika (congruent with Vedic literature).Dominic Goodall (1996), Hindu Scriptures, University of California Press, {{ISBN|978-0520207783}}, p. xxxix The Bhagavata Purana has been among the most celebrated and popular text in the Puranic genre, and is of non-dualistic tenor.BOOK, Thompson, Richard L., The Cosmology of the Bhagavata Purana 'Mysteries of the Sacred Universe,weblink 2007, Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, 978-81-208-1919-1, 10, Dominic Goodall (1996), Hindu Scriptures, University of California Press, {{ISBN|978-0520207783}}, p. xli The Puranic literature wove with the Bhakti movement in India, and both Dvaita and Advaita scholars have commented on the underlying Vedanta themes in the Maha Puranas.BN Krishnamurti Sharma (2008), A History of the Dvaita School of Vedānta and Its Literature, Motilal Banarsidass, {{ISBN|978-8120815759}}, pp. 128–131

Western Indology

{{further information|Sanskrit in the West}}The study of Sanskrit in the West began in the 17th century. In the early 19th century, Arthur Schopenhauer drew attention to Vedic texts, specifically the Upanishads.The importance of Vedic Sanskrit for Indo-European studies 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 series edited by Müller between 1879 and 1910.Müller, Friedrich Max (author) & Stone, Jon R. (author, editor) (2002). The essential Max Müller: on language, mythology, and religion. Illustrated edition. Palgrave Macmillan. {{ISBN|978-0-312-29309-3}}. Source: weblink (accessed: Friday May 7, 2010), p. 44Ralph T. H. Griffith also presented English translations of the four Samhitas, published 1889 to 1899.Voltaire regarded Vedas to be exceptional, he remarked that:{{quotation|The Veda was the most precious gift for which the West had ever been indebted to the East."A Critical Study of the Contribution of the Arya Samaj to Indian Education", p. 68. by Pandit, Saraswati S"Lectures on the science of language, delivered at the Royal institution of Great Britain in 1861 [and 1863], Volume 1", by Max Müller, p. 148}}Rigveda manuscripts were selected for inscription in UNESCO's Memory of the World Register in 2007.WEB,weblink Rig Veda in UNESCO Memory of the World Register,

See also






  • {{citation |last=Apte |first=Vaman Shivram |authorlink= |title=The Practical Sanskrit Dictionary |year=1965 | edition=4th revised & enlarged |publisher=Motilal Banarsidass |location=Delhi |isbn=978-81-208-0567-5 }}.
  • {{citation |last=Avari |first=Burjor |authorlink= |title=India: The Ancient Past|year=2007 |publisher=Routledge|location=London |isbn= 978-0-415-35616-9}}
  • BOOK, Harold G. Coward, The Philosophy of the Grammarians, in Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophies, 5, Karl Potter,weblink 1990, Princeton University Press, 978-81-208-0426-5, harv,
  • {{Citation | last1=Filliozat | first1=Pierre-Sylvain | year=2004 | chapter=Ancient Sanskrit Mathematics: An Oral Tradition and a Written Literature | chapter-url= | editor1-last=Chemla | editor1-first=Karine |editor1-link = Karine Chemla | editor2-last=Cohen | editor2-first=Robert S. | editor3-last=Renn | editor3-first=Jürgen |display-editors = 3 | editor4-last=Gavroglu | editor4-first=Kostas | title=History of Science, History of Text (Boston Series in the Philosophy of Science) | location=Dordrecht |publisher=Springer Netherlands | isbn=9781402023200 }}
  • {{citation |last=Flood |first=Gavin |authorlink=Gavin Flood |title=An Introduction to Hinduism |year=1996 |publisher=Cambridge University Press |location= |isbn= 978-0-521-43878-0}}
  • {{citation |editor-last=Flood |editor-first=Gavin |title=The Blackwell Companion to Hinduism|year=2003 |publisher=Blackwell|location=Malden, Massachusetts|isbn=978-1-4051-3251-0 }}
  • BOOK, Holdrege, Barbara A., Veda and Torah, 1995, SUNY Press, 978-0-7914-1639-6,
  • {{citation |last=MacDonell |first=Arthur Anthony |authorlink=Arthur Anthony Macdonell |title=A History of Sanskrit Literature |year=1900 |publisher=D. Appleton and Co |location=New York |oclc=713426994 |title-link=s:A History of Sanskrit Literature }} (full text online)
  • {{Citation|title=History of Philosophy, Eastern and Western|first=T.M.P|last=Mahadevan|editor1=Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan|editor2=Ardeshir Ruttonji Wadia|editor3=Dhirendra Mohan Datta|year=1952|publisher=George Allen & Unwin |oclc=929704391}}
  • {{Citation | last =Michaels | first =Axel | year=2004 | title =Hinduism: Past and Present | publisher =Princeton University Press | isbn =978-0-691-08953-9}}
  • {{Citation | date=1851 | editor-last=Monier-Williams | editor-first=Monier | editor-link=Monier Monier-Williams | title=Dictionary, English and Sanskrit |location=London |publisher= Honourable East-India Company |url= |oclc=5333096 }} (reprinted 2006 as {{ISBN|1-881338-58-4}})
  • BOOK, Muir, John, John Muir (indologist), Original Sanskrit Texts on the Origin and Progress of the Religion and Institutions of India, 1861, Williams and Norgate,weblink
  • BOOK, Müller, Max, Max Müller, Chips from a German Workshop,weblink 1891, C. Scribner's sons, New York, .
  • BOOK, harv, Patrick Olivelle, Dharmasutras: The Law Codes of Ancient India,weblink 1999, Oxford University Press, 978-0-19-283882-7,
  • {{Citation | editor-last=Radhakrishnan | editor-first=Sarvepalli | editor-link=Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan | editor2-last=Moore | editor2-first=Charles A. | title=A Sourcebook in Indian Philosophy | year=1957 | edition=12th Princeton Paperback | publisher=Princeton University Press | isbn=978-0-691-01958-1 | url= }}
  • {{Citation | last1=Staal | first1=Frits | authorlink=Frits Staal | year=1986 | title=The Fidelity of Oral Tradition and the Origins of Science | publisher=Mededelingen der Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie von Wetenschappen, North Holland Publishing Company }}
  • {{citation |last1=Smith|first1=Brian K. |title=Canonical Authority and Social Classification: Veda and 'Varṇa' in Ancient Indian Texts |issue=2 |journal=History of Religions |volume=32 |date=1992 |pages=103–125|jstor=1062753 |doi=10.1086/463320 }}
  • {{Citation |last=Sullivan |first= B. M.|date=Summer 1994 |title=The Religious Authority of the Mahabharata: Vyasa and Brahma in the Hindu Scriptural Tradition |journal=Journal of the American Academy of Religion |volume=62 |issue=1 |pages=377–401 |doi=10.1093/jaarel/LXII.2.377 }}
  • BOOK, Annette Wilke, Oliver Moebus, Sound and Communication: An Aesthetic Cultural History of Sanskrit Hinduism,weblink 2011, Walter de Gruyter, 978-3-11-018159-3, harv,
  • {{citation |last=Witzel |first=Michael (ed.)| authorlink = Michael Witzel|title=Inside the Texts, Beyond the Texts: New Approaches to the Study of the Vedas |year=1997 |series=Harvard Oriental Series, Opera Minora; vol. 2|publisher=Harvard University Press|location = Cambridge}}
  • {{citation |last=Zaehner |first=R. C. |authorlink=Robert Charles Zaehner |title=Hindu Scriptures|year=1966 |publisher= J. M. Dent|series=Everyman's Library|location=London |isbn= }}

Further reading

  • J. Gonda, Vedic Literature: {{IAST|Saṃhitās and Brāhmaṇas}}, A History of Indian literature. Vol. 1, Veda and Upanishads, Wiesnaden: Harrassowitz (1975), {{ISBN|978-3-447-01603-2}}.
  • J.A. Santucci, An Outline of Vedic Literature, Scholars Press for the American Academy of Religion, (1976).
  • S. Shrava, A Comprehensive History of Vedic Literature – Brahmana and Aranyaka Works, Pranava Prakashan (1977).

  • M. Bloomfield, A Vedic Concordance (1907)
  • Vishva Bandhu, Bhim Dev, S. Bhaskaran Nair (eds.), {{IAST|Vaidika-Padānukrama-Koá¹£a}}: 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

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