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A Glimpse into the Vedas from the perspective of south India’s heart - Karnataka

Karnataka has produced numerous dynasties and empires. These dynasties, in turn, have led to the growth of Hinduism in this geographical area, impacting its influence on the region's culture and society. When it comes to deities in this region, Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu are frequently mentioned. It was also the birthplace of numerous Hindu movements. The Vedas are the most important text of Hinduism and have certainly made their mark in the history of Karnataka’s Hinduism as well. 

These sacred texts dictate important Hindu ideologies and are commonly referred to as Sanatan Dharma, which means "Eternal Order" or "Eternal Path" in Hindu traditions. The word, Veda means "knowledge," and it is believed that they constitute valuable understanding pertaining to the root cause of, function, and personal behavioral responses to existence. They are regarded as one of the world's oldest, if not the oldest, religious texts. They are widely termed as "scripture," which is correct because they are holy writings containing insights into the nature of the Divine. The Vedas are split into 4, they are - Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda, and Atharva Veda.

Rig Veda

The Rig Veda is the oldest among the 4 Vedas, consisting of ten books (called mandalas) containing 1,028 hymns and 10,600 verses. These verses identify fundamental issues about existence as well as appropriate religious observance and practice, focusing on universal vibrations as comprehended by the great philosophers who first heard them. This philosophical perception conveys a sense of Hinduism that tackles the notion that the purpose of personal existence is to challenge it as one progresses from worldly desires to self-actualization and association with the Divine. The Rig Veda motivates such inquiries via hymns to divine beings, most notably Agni, Mitra, Varuna, Indra, and Soma, who would ultimately be considered avatars of Brahman, the Supreme Over-Soul, First Cause, and Origin of Existence.

Sama Veda

The Sama Veda ("Melody Knowledge" or "Song Knowledge") is a collection of sung liturgical melodies, slogans, and writings. The material is almost entirely based on the Rig Veda, and some intellectuals have noticed that the Rig Veda performs as the lyrical content of the Sama Veda's melodies. It has 1,549 verses and is split into two parts: Gana (melodies) and Arcika (verses). The melodies are assumed to inspire dance, which, when merged with the lyrics, enriches the soul.

Yajur Veda

The Yajur Veda ("Worship Knowledge" or "Ritual Knowledge") is a collection of monologues, devotional worship methodologies, mantras, and chants used in religious events. Its material, like the Sama Veda, is derived from the Rig Veda, but the emphasis of its 1,875 verses is on the religious observance of sacraments. It is commonly thought to have two "segments" that are not distinct parts but rather properties of the whole. The "dark Yajur Veda" pertains to sections that are ambiguous and poorly structured, whereas the "light Yajur Veda" alludes to verses that are easier to understand and better organized.

Atharva Veda

The Atharva Veda ("knowledge of Atharvan") is distinguished from the first three by its emphasis on magical runes to keep away evil spirits or peril, mantras, hymns, devotions, initiation rituals, marital and burial ceremonies, and reflections on everyday life. The title is believed to stem from the priest Atharvan, who was reputed to be a healer and religious trailblazer. It consists of 20 books containing 730 hymns, some of which are based on the Rig Veda.


Q1. Who authored the Vedas? 

In the Mahabharata, the Vedas are attributed to Brahma. However, the Vedic hymns are believed to have been compiled by Rishis (sages) who were inspired by divine energies. 

Q2. Why are the Vedas referred to as Shrutis in Hinduism? 

In Hinduism, the Vedas are regarded as Shruti, which means "what is heard," as opposed to other texts identified as Smritis, which are narratives of legendary figures and their challenges in writings like the Mahabharata, Ramayana, and Bhagavad Gita (however some denominations of Hinduism consider the Bhagavad Gita as Shruti).