A compilation of all the hymns used by the hota-priest to invite the various deities to the sacrifice became the
Rgveda. All the Liturgical parts of the Vedas, useful to the adhvaryu-priest, the chief executor of the sacrificial rites, brought together, formed the Yajurveda.
Collection of all the musical chants, especially those associated with the Soma group of sacrifices, and to be sung by the
udgatr-priest, the singer, was named as Samaveda.
The rest, a sort of miscellaneous appendix and addenda, became the Atharvaveda and was assigned to the brahma-priest,
considered as the supervisor over the whole sacrificial process.
The great sage Krishna Dvaipayana Vyasa effected this division by collecting all the mantras extant during his
time, and editing them into four groups: Rk, Yajus, Saman and Atharvan. He taught them to his four chief
disciples: Paila (Rgveda), Vaisampayana (Yajurveda), Jaimini (Samaveda) and
(Atharvaveda). This is how these four Vedas took shape.
The Vedas are divided in another way too: Mantra and
Brahmana. Samhita is the name given to the
collection of the Mantras. The Brahmana includes in itself two more sections, the Aranyaka and the Upanishad. If the Mantras comprise
the hymns, the Brahmanas contains liturgies in prose. The Aranyakas teach about meditations based on symbolical
interpretations of the liturgical rites. The Upanisads may roughly be defined as philosophical treatises dealing with the
ultimate problems of life.
Conventionally speaking, it is the Samhita that is indicated by the word Veda. For instance, Rgveda means only the
Rksamhita or the Rgveda Samhita. The Brahmanas, the Aranyakas and the Upanisads of the Rgveda have different and
independent names and are considered more like its appendages.
These Samhitas, in course of time, branched off, leading to the formation of sakhas or recensions. The origin of these
sakhas probably lies in the fact that each of the principal sages like Paila or Vaisampayana had several disciples. These
disciples or their successors might have done some editing and readjustment of the Vedic mantras to suit the needs of the
rites which they had to perform and upon which local culture too might have exerted its influence.
Q1. Who should not read Vedas?
During the later Vedic
period, the priests divided people into four varnas- Brahmins, Kshatriyas,
Vaishyas, and Shudras. Each varna had a different set of functions. Shudras had
to serve the other three groups and they could not study Vedas and perform
Well, not only Shudras but
women also were barred from reciting Vedas. The question is raised often as to
the right being refused to read Vedas, Gayatri mantra, or performing Upanayana
(sacred thread ceremony) to Sudras and girls.
Now, who exactly is a
Sudra? Manu made it clear.
“Janmana Jayathe Sudrah
Sanskarath Dwija Uchyathe''. Everyone is born a Sudra but becomes a Dwija (Brahmana,
Kshatriya or Vaisya) after Sanskara.
Q2. How many books are there in Veda?
Veda is a collection of 1,028 Vedic Sanskrit hymns and 10,600 Mantras, divided
into ten volumes called Mandalas, which are found in the Rigveda Samhita.
Anuvakas, several sections, make up each Mandala. Each Veda is a collection of
hymns by several priest families. The first and 10th Mandalas are the youngest
and the longest books. The second to Seventh Mandalas are the oldest parts of
Rig-Veda but the shortest books.
of the four Vedas has four subdivisions – 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). Some
scholars add a fifth category – the Upasana's (worship).
Q3. Can normal people read Vedas?
everybody can learn and read it. However, it's better to learn from a guru for
getting a more logical explanation of its hymns. There are various translations
of Vedas. For Vedas one needs a lot of patience and diligence to do own
research to understand the actual meaning or the message. Must read Vedas with
full faith that whatever is written in it would have some teaching or moral
learning or some message to lead a better life. The
problem with Vedas is that the hymns are not given in the sequential form (it's
not like a straight story where all events come one after the other). All of
the hymns are arranged without order (cluttered) hence they are confusing.
Q4. what are the 4 main vedas?
Rigveda : The Rigveda or
Rig Veda is an ancient Indian collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns (sūktas).
Only one Shakha of the many survives today, namely the Śakalya
Yajurveda : The Yajurveda
is the Veda primarily of prose mantras for worship rituals. 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.
Samaveda : The Samaveda,
is the Veda of melodies and chants. it is a liturgical text which consists of
1,875 verses. All but 75 verses have been taken from the Rigveda.
Atharvaveda : or Atharvana
Veda is the "knowledge storehouse of atharvāṇas, the procedures for everyday life".
Q5. Who wrote the Vedas?
to tradition, Vyasa is the compiler of the Vedas, who arranged the four kinds
of mantras into four Samhitas (Collections).
consider the Vedas to be apauruṣeya,
meaning "not of a man, superhuman" and "impersonal,
authorless." The Vedas, for orthodox Indian theologians, are considered
revelations seen by ancient sages after intense meditation, and texts,
carefully preserved since ancient times. In the Hindu Epic
Mahabharata, the creation of Vedas is credited to Brahma. The Vedic hymns
themselves assert that they were skillfully created by Rishis (sages), after
inspired creativity, just as a carpenter builds a chariot.
are also called śruti ("what is heard")
literature, distinguishing them from other religious texts, which are called smṛti ("what is
Q6. Which is the oldest Veda?
Rig Veda is the oldest of
the Vedas, the sacred texts of Hinduism. It means “The Knowledge of Verses”.
Written in Sanskrit around 1500 BC, Rig Veda consists of 1028 poems arranged
into 10 circles or Mandalas. The oldest part of the Rig
Veda Samhita was orally composed in north-western India (Punjab) between c.
1500 and 1200 BCE, while book 10 of the Rig Veda and the other Samhitas were composed
between 1200 and 900 BCE, between the Yamuna and the Ganges rivers, the
heartland of Aryavarta and the Kuru Kingdom. The "circum-Vedic"
texts, as well as the redaction of the Samhitas, date to c. 1000–500 BCE.
Email a Friend