Vedas of India - The Vedas of India are treated with utmost respect by the people of India. They are the 4 sacred texts, specially the Four Vedas of India - Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Atharva Veda and Sama Veda. These sacred Indian Vedas have been composed in Vedic Sanskrit and are intrinsic part of Sanskrit literature and Oldest Hindu scriptures.

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The Vedas of India

The Essence of The Indian Vedas

'Whence this creation has come into existence,
whether He established it or did not;
He who is its overseer in the higher firmament,
He verily knows or knows not…'
– The Rig-Veda (hymns to Prajapati, the creator)

Bramha Typical mind game from the subtlest and most profound of all ancient Indian, and indeed world, scriptures. This spirit of questioning is, in many ways, the essence of the Vedas, as also the age when the Aryans were finding their feet in India.

Ancient Indian Vedas
The story goes back a long time. It starts in 1200 BC, when the first Aryan immigrants in India started composing the various hymns that are part of the books. They were meant to be mantras (incantations) in praise of various Aryan gods. What they also reflect is a startlingly vivid picture of life, as was being led by the Aryans who came to India. Things move along as they trace the settling down of the Aryans in their new habitat and the various changes that invariably happened in their society.

The four Vedas of India - 4 vedas
Know about famous four vedas of India

The Rig-Veda:- The date for the Rig Veda was in controversy for a long time. The traditional date goes back to 3000 BC, something which the German scholar Max Mueller accepted. However, modern historians have now reached a consensus that the oldest parts of the Rig Veda were written around a more cautious 1200 BC.

As a body of writing, the Rig-Veda (the wisdom of verses) is nothing short of remarkable. It contains 1028 hymns dedicated to thirty-three different gods; these gods were, quite expectedly, nature gods. The most often addressed gods are Indra (rain god; king of heavens), Agni (fire god) and Rudra (storm god; the 'howler'). A sizeable chunk of the verses are also dedicated to Soma (the draught of immortality), which was a cool alcoholic brew made from the leaves of the soma plant and was drunk during sacrifices. The identity of the plant itself is subject of furious debate. In nature, however, it was somewhat similar to the brews that the American Indians used to consume before conducting sacrifices – to numb both the sacrificer and the sacrificee although human sacrifice was never a part of Aryan worship.

Rig Veda, the oldest religious text in the world, has 10,589 verses which are divided into ten mandalas or book-sections. The oldest portions of the Rig-Veda are from books two to seven; the others were added later. The book-sections are arranged according to the number of hymns they possess.

The Sama-Veda:- The Sama-Veda or the wisdom of chants is basically a collection of samans or chants, derived from the eighth and ninth books of the 'original Veda', the Rig-Veda. These were meant for the priests who officiated at the rituals of the soma ceremonies – in full sway there could have as many as seventeen full rituals. As time went along rituals and ceremonies of worship became increasingly intricate and the simplicity of the original Rig-Vedic age was slowly forgotten. Thus a need arose to compile all the rituals and their chants in a book, as a sort of reference point for the priests whose functions Sama Veda clearly puts down.

It is not surprising that the Sama-Veda is better known for the precise meter of its poetry than for its literary content. There are also painstaking instructions in Sama Veda about how particular hymns must be sung; this is perhaps because great emphasis was put upon sounds of the words of the mantras and the effect they could have on the environment and the person who pronounced them.

The Yajur Veda:- The Yajur Veda or the wisdom of sacrifices lays down various sacred invocations (yajurs) which were chanted by a particular sect of priests called adhvaryu. They performed the sacrificial rites. This is very much a ritual based Veda for although there are a few hymns to various Gods the main stress is on the theory of the ritual. The Yajur Veda also outlines various chants which should be sung to pray and pay respects to the various instruments which are involved in the sacrifice.

The Atharva-Veda:- The Atharva-Veda (the wisdom of the Atharvans) is called so because the families of the atharvan sect of the Brahmins have traditionally been credited with the composition of the Vedas. It is a compilation of hymns but lacks the awesome grandeur which makes the Rig-Veda such a breathtaking spiritual experience. It is roughly equivalent to the western magic spells and has incantations for everything – from success in love to the realization of otherworldly ambitions.

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