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Atharva Veda

The Atharva Veda was not included as the Fourth Veda up to the time of the Bhagavad Gita', because its mantras had little to do with the main yajna rituals as in the other three Vedas. It has information on aspects that are not found in the other three Vedas. The Atharva Veda contains 736 hymns or suktas with a total of 6,077 mantras. They deal with health, medicine, victory, friendship, progeny, black magic, and charms and chants used for offensive and defensive purposes.

The Atharva Veda also contains mantras that deal with building construction, trade and commerce, statecraft, penances, long life, harmony in life and mantras to ward off evil spirits.

This Veda also refers to swarga (heaven) and naraka (hell), virtue and sin, and qualities like satya (truth) and tapas (austerity), and ceremony like diksha (initiation) that help a person attain perfection.

The Atharva Veda is also called Brahma Veda because the priests who specialise in its recitation are called the Brahma priests. Furthermore it is also called Bhaishajya Veda (the Veda of medicines and treatment of diseases) and Kshattra Veda (the Veda of the warrior class). So, unlike the other Vedas, the Atharva Veda touches a wider scope of worldly subjects.

The Gopatha Brahmana and three important Upanishads, Prashna, Mundaka and Mandukya, developed from it.