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The Vedanga (vedāṅga, "limbs of the Veda") are six auxiliary disciplines in Hinduism that are traditionally associated with the study and understanding of the Vedas (texts from the Vedic period). These are:
- Shiksha (śikṣā): phonetics, phonology and morphophonology (sandhi)
- Kalpa (kalpa): ritual
- Vyakarana (vyākaraṇa): grammar
- Nirukta (nirukta): etymology
- Chandas (chandas): meter
- Jyotisha (jyotiṣa): Time measurement, forecasting movement of Sun, Moon and planetary movement, astronomy
The Vedangas are first mentioned in the Mundaka Upanishad (at 1.1.5) as subjects for students of the Vedas. Later, they developed into independent disciplines, each with its own corpus of Sutras. Traditionally, vyakarana and nirukta are common to all four vedas, while each veda has its own shiksha, chandas, kalpa and jyotisha texts.
Shiksha is the first discipline and scripture existing to teach morphophonology, phonetics, and phonology. Shiksha has 32 systems regarding these, each of which differently relate to the Vedas. It shows that a large amount of time during the Vedic period was devoted to respecting religious pronunciation and recitation. Kalpa is the second discipline and scripture existing to teach rituals and is considered aphoristic. Vyakarana is the third discipline and scripture devoted to grammar, and is considered to be a heavily important part of the Vedanga. Vyakarana is believed to be the "mouth among the Vedanga". Nirukta is the fourth discipline and scripture and is devoted to etymology, and is sometimes thought of as part of Vyakarana. Chandas is the fifth discipline and scripture and is devoted to Sanskrit prosody. Jyotisha is the final discipline and scripture and is devoted to the measurement of time, forecasting the movement of planets, the Sun and the Moon, and astronomy.
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