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The Vedas (/, /; Sanskrit: वेद véda, "knowledge") are a large body of texts originating in ancient India. Composed in Vedic Sanskrit, the texts constitute the oldest layer of Sanskrit literature and the oldest scriptures of Hinduism. Hindus consider the Vedas to be apauruṣeya, which means "not of a man, superhuman" and "impersonal, authorless".
Vedas are also called śruti ("what is heard") literature, distinguishing them from other religious texts, which are called smṛti ("what is remembered"). The Veda, for orthodox Indian theologians, are considered revelations, some way or other the work of the Deity. In the Hindu Epic the Mahabharata, the creation of Vedas is credited to Brahma.
There are four Vedas: the Rigveda, the Yajurveda, the Samaveda and the Atharvaveda. Each Veda has been subclassified into four major text types – 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 (text discussing meditation, philosophy and spiritual knowledge). Some scholars add fifth category – the Upasanas (worship).
The various Indian philosophies and denominations have taken differing positions on the Vedas. Schools of Indian philosophy which cite the Vedas as their scriptural authority are classified as "orthodox" (āstika). Other Sramana traditions, such as Lokayata, Carvaka, Ajivika, Buddhism and Jainism, which did not regard the Vedas as authorities are referred to as "heterodox" or "non-orthodox" (nāstika) schools. Despite their differences, just like Sramana traditions, various Hindu traditions dwell on, express and teach similar ideas such as karma (retributive action) and moksha (liberation) in the fourth layer of the Vedas – the Upanishads.
- 1 Etymology and usage
- 2 Chronology
- 3 Categories of Vedic texts
- 4 Vedic schools or recensions
- 5 Four Vedas
- 6 Brahmanas
- 7 Vedanta
- 8 In post-Vedic literature
- 9 Western Indology
- 10 See also
- 11 Notes
- 12 References
- 13 Further reading
- 14 External links
Etymology and usage
- yáḥ samídhā yá âhutī / yó védena dadâśa márto agnáye / yó námasā svadhvaráḥ
- "The mortal who hath ministered to Agni with oblation, fuel, ritual lore, and reverence, skilled in sacrifice."
The noun is from Proto-Indo-European *u̯eidos, cognate to Greek (ϝ)εἶδος "aspect", "form" . Not to be confused is the homonymous 1st and 3rd person singular perfect tense véda, cognate to Greek (ϝ)οἶδα (w)oida "I know". Root cognates are Greek ἰδέα, English wit, etc., Latin videō "I see", etc.
In English, the term Veda is often used loosely to refer to the Samhitas (collection of mantras, or chants) of the four canonical Vedas (Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samaveda and Atharvaveda).
The Sanskrit term veda as a common noun means "knowledge", but can also be used to refer to fields of study unrelated to liturgy or ritual, e.g. in agada-veda "medical science", sasya-veda "science of agriculture" or sarpa-veda "science of snakes" (already found in the early Upanishads); durveda means "with evil knowledge, ignorant".
Vedas are called Maṛai or Vaymoli in parts of South India. Marai literally means "hidden, a secret, mystery". In some south Indian communities such as Iyengars, the word Veda includes the Tamil writings of the Alvar saints, such as Divya Prabandham, for example Tiruvaymoli.
The Vedas are among the oldest sacred texts. The Samhitas date to roughly 1700–1100 BCE, and the "circum-Vedic" texts, as well as the redaction of the Samhitas, date to c. 1000-500 BCE, resulting in a Vedic period, spanning the mid 2nd to mid 1st millennium BCE, or the Late Bronze Age and the Iron Age. The Vedic period reaches its peak only after the composition of the mantra texts, with the establishment of the various shakhas all over Northern India which annotated the mantra samhitas with Brahmana discussions of their meaning, and reaches its end in the age of Buddha and Panini and the rise of the Mahajanapadas (archaeologically, Northern Black Polished Ware). Michael Witzel gives a time span of c. 1500 BCE to c. 500-400 BCE. Witzel makes special reference to the Near Eastern Mitanni material of the 14th century BCE the only epigraphic record of Indo-Aryan contemporary to the Rigvedic period. He gives 150 BCE (Patañjali) as a terminus ante quem for all Vedic Sanskrit literature, and 1200 BCE (the early Iron Age) as terminus post quem for the Atharvaveda.
Transmission of texts in the Vedic period was by oral tradition alone, preserved with precision with the help of elaborate mnemonic techniques. A literary tradition set in only in post-Vedic times, after the rise of Buddhism in the Maurya period, perhaps earliest in the Kanva recension of the Yajurveda about the 1st century BCE; however oral tradition predominated until c. 1000 CE.
Due to the ephemeral nature of the manuscript material (birch bark or palm leaves), surviving manuscripts rarely surpass an age of a few hundred years. The Sampurnanand Sanskrit University has a Rigveda manuscript from the 14th century; however, there are a number of older Veda manuscripts in Nepal that are dated from the 11th century onwards.
Categories of Vedic texts
The term "Vedic texts" is used in two distinct meanings:
- Texts composed in Vedic Sanskrit during the Vedic period (Iron Age India)
- Any text considered as "connected to the Vedas" or a "corollary of the Vedas"
Vedic Sanskrit corpus
The corpus of Vedic Sanskrit texts includes:
- The Samhitas (Sanskrit saṃhitā, "collection"), are collections of metric texts ("mantras"). There are four "Vedic" Samhitas: the Rig-Veda, Sama-Veda, Yajur-Veda, and Atharva-Veda, most of which are available in several recensions (śākhā). In some contexts, the term Veda is used to refer to these Samhitas. This is the oldest layer of Vedic texts, apart from the Rigvedic hymns, which were probably essentially complete by 1200 BCE, dating to c. the 12th to 10th centuries BCE. The complete corpus of Vedic mantras as collected in Bloomfield's Vedic Concordance (1907) consists of some 89,000 padas (metrical feet), of which 72,000 occur in the four Samhitas.
- The Brahmanas are prose texts that comment and explain the solemn rituals as well as expound on their meaning and many connected themes. Each of the Brahmanas is associated with one of the Samhitas or its recensions. The Brahmanas may either form separate texts or can be partly integrated into the text of the Samhitas. They may also include the Aranyakas and Upanishads.
- The Aranyakas, "wilderness texts" or "forest treaties", were composed by people who meditated in the woods as recluses and are the third part of the Vedas. The texts contain discussions and interpretations of ceremonies, from ritualisitic to symbolic meta-ritualistic points of view. It is frequently read in secondary literature.
- Older Mukhya Upanishads (Bṛhadāraṇyaka, Chandogya, Kaṭha, Kena, Aitareya, and others).
The Vedas (sruti) are different from Vedic era texts such as Shrauta Sutras and Gryha Sutras, which are smriti texts. Together, the Vedas and these Sutras form part of the Vedic Sanskrit corpus.
While production of Brahmanas and Aranyakas ceased with the end of the Vedic period, additional Upanishads were composed after the end of the Vedic period.
The Brahmanas, Aranyakas, and Upanishads, among other things, interpret and discuss the Samhitas in philosophical and metaphorical ways to explore abstract concepts such as the Absolute (Brahman), and the soul or the self (Atman), introducing Vedanta philosophy, one of the major trends of later Hinduism. In other parts, they show evolution of ideas, such as from actual sacrifice to symbolic sacrifice, and of spirituality in the Upanishads. This has inspired later Hindu scholars such as Adi Shankara to classify each Veda into karma-kanda (कर्म खण्ड, action/ritual-related sections) and jnana-kanda (ज्ञान खण्ड, knowledge/spirituality-related sections).
The texts considered "Vedic" in the sense of "corollaries of the Vedas" is less clearly defined, and may include numerous post-Vedic texts such as the later Upanishads and the Sutra literature. Texts not considered to be shruti are known as smriti (Sanskrit: smṛti; "the remembered"), or texts of remembered traditions. This indigenous system of categorization was adopted by Max Müller and, while it is subject to some debate, it is still widely used. As Axel Michaels explains:
These classifications are often not tenable for linguistic and formal reasons: There is not only one collection at any one time, but rather several handed down in separate Vedic schools; Upanişads ... are sometimes not to be distinguished from Āraṇyakas...; Brāhmaṇas contain older strata of language attributed to the Saṃhitās; there are various dialects and locally prominent traditions of the Vedic schools. Nevertheless, it is advisable to stick to the division adopted by Max Müller because it follows the Indian tradition, conveys the historical sequence fairly accurately, and underlies the current editions, translations, and monographs on Vedic literature."
The Upanishads are largely philosophical works, some in dialogue form. They are the foundation of Hindu philosophical thought and its diverse traditions. Of the Vedic corpus, they alone are widely known, and the central ideas of the Upanishads are at the spiritual core of Hindus.
Vedic schools or recensions
The four Vedas were transmitted in various śākhās (branches, schools). Each school likely represented an ancient community of a particular area, or kingdom. Each school followed its own canon. Multiple recensions are known for each of the Vedas. Thus, states Witzel as well as Renou, in the 2nd millennium BCE, there was likely no canon of one broadly accepted Vedic texts, no Vedic “Scripture”, but only a canon of various texts accepted by each school. Some of these texts have survived, most lost or yet to be found. Rigveda that survives in modern times, for example, is in only one extremely well preserved school of Śåkalya, from a region called Videha, in modern north Bihar, south of Nepal. The Vedic canon in its entirety consists of texts from all the various Vedic schools taken together.
Each of the four Vedas were shared by the numerous schools, but revised, interpolated and adapted locally, in and after the Vedic period, giving rise to various recensions of the text. Some texts were revised into the modern era, raising significant debate on parts of the text which are believed to have been corrupted at a later date. The Vedas each have an Index or Anukramani, the principal work of this kind being the general Index or Sarvānukramaṇī.
Prodigous energy was expended by ancient Indian culture in ensuring that these texts were transmitted from generation to generation with inordinate fidelity. For example, memorization of the sacred Vedas included up to eleven forms of recitation of the same text. The texts were subsequently "proof-read" by comparing the different recited versions. Forms of recitation included the jaṭā-pāṭha (literally "mesh recitation") in which every two adjacent words in the text were first recited in their original order, then repeated in the reverse order, and finally repeated again in the original order. That these methods have been effective, is testified to by the preservation of the most ancient Indian religious text, the Rigveda, as redacted into a single text during the Brahmana period, without any variant readings within that school.
The Vedas were likely written down for the first time around 500 BCE. However, all printed editions of the Vedas that survive in the modern times are likely the version existing in about the 16th century CE.
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|Vedas and their Shakhas|
The canonical division of the Vedas is fourfold (turīya) viz.,
Of these, the first three were the principal original division, also called "trayī vidyā", that is, "the triple science" of reciting hymns (Rigveda), performing sacrifices (Yajurveda), and chanting songs (Samaveda). The Rigveda is the oldest work, which Witzel states are probably from 1900 BCE to 1100 BCE period. Witzel, also notes that it is the Vedic period itself, where incipient lists divide the Vedic texts into three (trayī) or four branches: Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva.
Each Veda has been subclassified into four major text types – the Samhitas (mantras and benedictions), the Aranyakas (text on rituals, ceremonies such as newborn baby's rites of passage, coming of age, marriages, retirement and cremation, sacrifices and symbolic-sacrifices), the Brahmanas (commentaries on rituals, ceremonies and sacrifices), and the Upanishads (text discussing meditation, philosophy and spiritual knowledge). The Upasanas (short ritual worship-related sections) are considered by some scholars as the fifth part. Witzel notes that the rituals, rites and ceremonies described in these ancient texts reconstruct to a large degree the Indo-European marriage rituals observed in a region spanning the Indian subcontinent, Persia and the European area, and some greater details are found in the Vedic era texts such as the Grhya Sūtras.
Only one version of the Rigveda is known to have survived into the modern era. Several different versions of the Sama Veda and the Atharva Veda are known, and many different versions of the Yajur Veda have been found in different parts of South Asia.
The Rigveda Samhita is the oldest extant Indic text. It is a collection of 1,028 Vedic Sanskrit hymns and 10,600 verses in all, organized into ten books (Sanskrit: mandalas). The hymns are dedicated to Rigvedic deities.
The books were composed by poets from different priestly groups over a period of several centuries from roughly the second half of the 2nd millennium BCE (the early Vedic period), starting with the Punjab (Sapta Sindhu) region of the northwest Indian subcontinent. The Rigveda is structured based on clear principles – the Veda begins with a small book addressed to Agni, Indra and other gods, all arranged according to decreasing total number of hymns in each deity collection; for each deity series the hymns progress from longer to shorter ones; yet, the number of hymns per book increases; finally, the meter too is systematically arranged from jagati and tristubh to anustubh and gayatri as the text progresses. In terms of substance, the nature of hymns shift from praise of deities in early books to Nasadiya Sukta with questions such as, "what is the origin of the universe?, do even gods know the answer?", the virtue of Dāna (charity) in society, and other metaphysical issues in its hymns.
There are similarities between the mythology, rituals and linguistics in Rigveda and those found in ancient central Asia, Iranian and Hindukush (Afghanistan) regions.
The Samaveda Samhita consists of 1549 stanzas, taken almost entirely (except for 75 mantras) from the Rigveda. The Samaveda samhita comprises of two major parts. The first part include four melody collections (gāna, गान) and the second part three verse “books” (ārcika, आर्चिक). A melody in the song books corresponds to a verse in the arcika books. Just like Rigveda, the early sections of Samaveda typically begin with Agni and Indra hymns but shift to abstract, and their meters too shifts in a descending order. The later sections of the Samaveda have least deviation from substance of hymns they derive from Rigveda into songs.
In Samaveda, some of the Rigvedic verses are repeated more than once. Including repetitions, there are a total of 1875 verses numbered in the Samaveda recension translated by Griffith. Two major recensions remain today, the Kauthuma/Ranayaniya and the Jaiminiya. Its purpose was liturgical, and they were the repertoire of the udgātṛ or "singer" priests.
The Yajurveda Samhita consists of archaic prose mantras. While the Samaveda is based on Rigveda mantras, the earliest sections of the Yajurveda are independent from it. The early part of Yajurveda samhitas are in prose and linguistically, they are different from earlier Vedic texts. The Yajur Veda has been the primary source of information about sacrifices during Vedic times and associated rituals.
There are two major groups of texts in this Veda: the "Black" (Krishna) and the "White" (Shukla). The term "black" implies "the un-arranged, motley collection" of verses in Yajurveda, in contrast to the "white" (well arranged) Yajurveda. The White Yajurveda separates the Samhita from its Brahmana (the Shatapatha Brahmana), the Black Yajurveda intersperses the Samhita with Brahmana commentary. Of the Black Yajurveda, texts from four major schools have survived (Maitrayani, Katha, Kapisthala-Katha, Taittiriya), while of the White Yajurveda, three (Vajasaneyi, Kanva and Madhyandina).
The Artharvaveda Samhita is the text 'belonging to the Atharvan and Angirasa poets. It has 760 hymns, and about 160 of the hymns are in common with the Rigveda. Most of the verses are metrical, but some sections are in prose. It was compiled last, probably around 900 BCE, although some of its material may go back to the time of the Rigveda, or earlier. The Atharvaveda is a comparatively late extension of the "Three Vedas" connected to priestly sacrifice to a canon of "Four Vedas". This may be connected to an extension of the sacrificial rite from involving three types of priest to the inclusion of the Brahman overseeing the ritual.
Several versions of the Atharvaveda manuscript survives. Two studied recensions are the Paippalāda and the Śaunaka. According to Apte it had nine schools (shakhas). The Paippalada text, which exists in a Kashmir and an Orissa version, is longer than the Saunaka one; it is only partially printed in its two versions and remains largely untranslated.
Unlike Yajurveda, the Atharvaveda has less connection with sacrifice. It has numerous verses on magic spells and charms, such as those to gain better health, finding a good husband, peaceful social and family relationships, and others. The second part of the text contains speculative and philosophical hymns.
The Atharva veda has been the primary source for information about Vedic culture, the customs and beliefs, the aspirations and frustrations of everyday Vedic life, as well as those associated with kings and governance. The text also includes hymns dealing with the two major rituals of passage – marriage and cremation. Finally, the Atharva Veda dedicates significant portion of the text asking the meaning of a ritual.
The mystical notions surrounding the concept of the one "Veda" that would flower in Vedantic philosophy have their roots already in Brahmana literature, for example in the Shatapatha Brahmana. The Vedas are identified with Brahman, the universal principle (ŚBM 10.1.1.8, 10.2.4.6). Vāc "speech" is called the "mother of the Vedas" (ŚBM 188.8.131.52, 10.5.5.1). The knowledge of the Vedas is endless, compared to them, human knowledge is like mere handfuls of dirt (TB 184.108.40.206-5). The universe itself was originally encapsulated in the three Vedas (ŚBM 10.4.2.22 has Prajapati reflecting that "truly, all beings are in the triple Veda").
While contemporary traditions continued to maintain Vedic ritualism (Śrauta, Mimamsa), Vedanta renounced all ritualism and radically re-interpreted the notion of "Veda" in purely philosophical terms. The association of the three Vedas with the bhūr bhuvaḥ svaḥ mantra is found in the Aitareya Aranyaka: "Bhūḥ is the Rigveda, bhuvaḥ is the Yajurveda, svaḥ is the Samaveda" (1.3.2). The Upanishads reduce the "essence of the Vedas" further, to the syllable Aum (ॐ). Thus, the Katha Upanishad has:
- "The goal, which all Vedas declare, which all austerities aim at, and which humans desire when they live a life of continence, I will tell you briefly it is Aum" (1.2.15)
In post-Vedic literature
Six technical subjects related to the Vedas are traditionally known as vedāṅga "limbs of the Veda". V. S. Apte defines this group of works as:
"N. of a certain class of works regarded as auxiliary to the Vedas and designed to aid in the correct pronunciation and interpretation of the text and the right employment of the Mantras in ceremonials."
The six subjects of Vedanga are:
- Phonetics (Śikṣā)
- Ritual (Kalpa)
- Grammar (Vyākaraṇa)
- Etymology (Nirukta)
- Meter (Chandas)
- Astronomy (Jyotiṣa)
Pariśiṣṭa "supplement, appendix" is the term applied to various ancillary works of Vedic literature, dealing mainly with details of ritual and elaborations of the texts logically and chronologically prior to them: the Samhitas, Brahmanas, Aranyakas and Sutras. Naturally classified with the Veda to which each pertains, Parisista works exist for each of the four Vedas. However, only the literature associated with the Atharvaveda is extensive.
- The Āśvalāyana Gṛhya Pariśiṣṭa is a very late text associated with the Rigveda canon.
- The Gobhila Gṛhya Pariśiṣṭa is a short metrical text of two chapters, with 113 and 95 verses respectively.
- The Kātiya Pariśiṣṭas, ascribed to Kātyāyana, consist of 18 works enumerated self-referentially in the fifth of the series (the Caraṇavyūha)and the Kātyāyana Śrauta Sūtra Pariśiṣṭa.
- The Kṛṣṇa Yajurveda has 3 parisistas The Āpastamba Hautra Pariśiṣṭa, which is also found as the second praśna of the Satyasāḍha Śrauta Sūtra', the Vārāha Śrauta Sūtra Pariśiṣṭa
- For the Atharvaveda, there are 79 works, collected as 72 distinctly named parisistas.
A traditional view given in the Vishnu Purana (likely dating to the Gupta period) attributes the current arrangement of four Vedas to the mythical sage Vedavyasa. Puranic tradition also postulates a single original Veda that, in varying accounts, was divided into three or four parts. According to the Vishnu Purana (3.2.18, 3.3.4 etc.) the original Veda was divided into four parts, and further fragmented into numerous shakhas, by Lord Vishnu in the form of Vyasa, in the Dvapara Yuga; the Vayu Purana (section 60) recounts a similar division by Vyasa, at the urging of Brahma. The Bhagavata Purana (12.6.37) traces the origin of the primeval Veda to the syllable aum, and says that it was divided into four at the start of Dvapara Yuga, because men had declined in age, virtue and understanding. In a differing account Bhagavata Purana (9.14.43) attributes the division of the primeval veda (aum) into three parts to the monarch Pururavas at the beginning of Treta Yuga. The Mahabharata (santiparva 13,088) also mentions the division of the Veda into three in Treta Yuga.
The term upaveda ("applied knowledge") is used in traditional literature to designate the subjects of certain technical works. Lists of what subjects are included in this class differ among sources. The Charanavyuha mentions four Upavedas:
- Archery (Dhanurveda), associated with the Rigveda
- Architecture (Sthapatyaveda), associated with the Yajurveda.
- Music and sacred dance (Gāndharvaveda), associated with the Samaveda
- Medicine (Āyurveda), associated with the Atharvaveda .
"Fifth" and other Vedas
Some post-Vedic texts, including the Mahabharata, the Natyasastra and certain Puranas, refer to themselves as the "fifth Veda". The earliest reference to such a "fifth Veda" is found in the Chandogya Upanishad in hymn 7.1.2.
Let drama and dance (Nātya, नाट्य) be the fifth vedic scripture. Combined with an epic story, tending to virtue, wealth, joy and spiritual freedom, it must contain the significance of every scripture, and forward every art. Thus, from all the Vedas, Brahma framed the Nātya Veda. From the Rig Veda he drew forth the words, from the Sama Veda the melody, from the Yajur Veda gesture, and from the Atharva Veda the sentiment.
Other texts such as the Bhagavad Gita or the Vedanta Sutras are considered shruti or "Vedic" by some Hindu denominations but not universally within Hinduism. The Bhakti movement, and Gaudiya Vaishnavism in particular extended the term veda to include the Sanskrit Epics and Vaishnavite devotional texts such as the Pancaratra.
The study of Sanskrit in the West began in the 17th century. In the early 19th century, Arthur Schopenhauer drew attention to Vedic texts, specifically the Upanishads. The importance of Vedic Sanskrit for Indo-European studies was also recognized in the early 19th century. English translations of the Samhitas were published in the later 19th century, in the Sacred Books of the East series edited by Müller between 1879 and 1910. Ralph T. H. Griffith also presented English translations of the four Samhitas, published 1889 to 1899.
Voltaire regarded Vedas to be exceptional, he remarked that:
- "Veda". Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary.
- see e.g. Radhakrishnan & Moore 1957, p. 3; Witzel, Michael, "Vedas and Upaniṣads", in: Flood 2003, p. 68; MacDonell 2004, pp. 29–39; Sanskrit literature (2003) in Philip's Encyclopedia. Accessed 2007-08-09
- Sanujit Ghose (2011). "Religious Developments in Ancient India" in Ancient History Encyclopedia.
- Vaman Shivaram Apte, The Practical Sanskrit-English Dictionary, see apauruSeya
- D Sharma, Classical Indian Philosophy: A Reader, Columbia University Press, ISBN , pages 196-197
- Jan Westerhoff (2009), Nagarjuna's Madhyamaka: A Philosophical Introduction, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195384963, page 290
- Warren Lee Todd (2013), The Ethics of Śaṅkara and Śāntideva: A Selfless Response to an Illusory World, ISBN 978-1409466819, page 128
- Apte 1965, p. 887
- Müller 1891, pp. 17–18
- Seer of the Fifth Veda: Kr̥ṣṇa Dvaipāyana Vyāsa in the Mahābhārata Bruce M. Sullivan, Motilal Banarsidass, pages 85-86
- Gavin Flood (1996), An Introduction to Hinduism, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0521438780, pages 35-39
- Bloomfield, M. The Atharvaveda and the Gopatha-Brahmana, (Grundriss der Indo-Arischen Philologie und Altertumskunde II.1.b.) Strassburg 1899; Gonda, J. A history of Indian literature: I.1 Vedic literature (Samhitas and Brahmanas); I.2 The Ritual Sutras. Wiesbaden 1975, 1977
- A Bhattacharya (2006), Hindu Dharma: Introduction to Scriptures and Theology, ISBN 978-0595384556, pages 8-14; George M. Williams (2003), Handbook of Hindu Mythology, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195332612, page 285
- Jan Gonda (1975), Vedic Literature: (Saṃhitās and Brāhmaṇas), Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, ISBN 978-3447016032
- A Bhattacharya (2006), Hindu Dharma: Introduction to Scriptures and Theology, ISBN 978-0595384556, pages 8-14
- Barbara A. Holdrege (1995), Veda and Torah: Transcending the Textuality of Scripture, State University of New York Press, ISBN 978-0791416402, pages 351-357
- Flood 1996, p. 82
- Monier-Williams 2006, p. 1015; Apte 1965, p. 856
- K.F. Geldner. Der Rig-Veda, Harvard Oriental Series 33-37, Cambridge 1951
- see e.g. Pokorny's 1959 Indogermanisches etymologisches Wörterbuch s.v. u̯(e)id-²; Rix' Lexikon der indogermanischen Verben, u̯ei̯d-.
- Monier-Williams (1899)
- Vasudha Narayanan (1994), The Vernacular Veda: Revelation, Recitation, and Ritual, University of South Carolina Press, ISBN 978-0872499652, pages 194
- John Carman (1989), The Tamil Veda: Pillan's Interpretation of the Tiruvaymoli, University of Chicago Press, ISBN 978-0226093055, pages 259-261
- Vasudha Narayanan (1994), The Vernacular Veda: Revelation, Recitation, and Ritual, University of South Carolina Press, ISBN 978-0872499652, pages 43, 117-119
- Lucas F. Johnston, Whitney Bauman (2014). Science and Religion: One Planet, Many Possibilities. Routledge. p. 179.
- Gavin Flood sums up mainstream estimates, according to which the Rigveda was compiled from as early as 1500 BCE over a period of several centuries. Flood 1996, p. 37
- Witzel, Michael, "Vedas and Upaniṣads", in: Flood 2003, p. 68
- For the possibility of written texts during the 1st century BCE see: Witzel, Michael, "Vedas and Upaniṣads", in: Flood 2003, p. 69; For oral composition and oral transmission for "many hundreds of years" before being written down, see: Avari 2007, p. 76.
- Brodd, Jefferey (2003), World Religions, Winona, MN: Saint Mary's Press, ISBN 978-0-88489-725-5
- Jamison, Stephanie W.; Brereton, Joel P. (2014). The Rigveda. vol. 1. Oxford University Press. p. 18. ISBN 978-0-19-972078-1.
- "Cultural Heritage of Nepal". Nepal-German Manuscript Preservation Project. University of Hamburg. Retrieved 4 November 2014.
- according to ISKCON, Hindu Sacred Texts, "Hindus themselves often use the term to describe anything connected to the Vedas and their corollaries (e.g. Vedic culture)".
- 37,575 are Rigvedic. Of the remaining, 34,857 appear in the other three Samhitas, and 16,405 are known only from Brahmanas, Upanishads or Sutras
- Klaus Klostermaier (1994), A Survey of Hinduism, Second Edition, State University of New York Press, ISBN 978-0791421093, pages 67-69
- Brahmana Encyclopedia Britannica (2013)
- Jan Gonda (1975), Vedic Literature: (Saṃhitās and Brāhmaṇas), Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, ISBN 978-3447016032, page 424-426
- Michaels 2004, p. 51.
- Witzel, Michael, "Vedas and Upaniṣads", in: Flood 2003, p. 69.
- For a table of all Vedic texts see Witzel, Michael, "Vedas and Upaniṣads", in: Flood 2003, pp. 100–101.
- The Vedic Sanskrit corpus is incorporated in A Vedic Word Concordance (Vaidika-Padānukrama-Koṣa) prepared from 1930 under Vishva Bandhu, and published in five volumes in 1935-1965. Its scope extends to about 400 texts, including the entire Vedic Sanskrit corpus besides some "sub-Vedic" texts. Volume I: Samhitas, Volume II: Brahmanas and Aranyakas, Volume III: Upanishads, Volume IV: Vedangas; A revised edition, extending to about 1800 pages, was published in 1973-1976.
- Flood 2003, pp. 100–101
- Edward Roer (Translator), Shankara's Introduction at Google Books to Brihad Aranyaka Upanishad at pages 1-5; Quote - "The Vedas are divided in two parts, the first is the karma-kanda, the ceremonial part, also (called) purva-kanda, and treats on ceremonies; the second part is the jnana kanda, the part which contains knowledge, also named uttara-kanda or posterior part, and unfolds the knowledge of Brahma or the universal soul."
- Wendy Doniger (1990), Textual Sources for the Study of Hinduism, 1st Edition, University of Chicago Press, ISBN 978-0226618470, pages 2-3; Quote: "The Upanishads supply the basis of later Hindu philosophy; they alone of the Vedic corpus are widely known and quoted by most well-educated Hindus, and their central ideas have also become a part of the spiritual arsenal of rank-and-file Hindus."
- Wiman Dissanayake (1993), Self as Body in Asian Theory and Practice (Editors: Thomas P. Kasulis et al.), State University of New York Press, ISBN 978-0791410806, page 39; Quote: "The Upanishads form the foundations of Hindu philosophical thought and the central theme of the Upanishads is the identity of Atman and Brahman, or the inner self and the cosmic self.";
Michael McDowell and Nathan Brown (2009), World Religions, Penguin, ISBN 978-1592578467, pages 208-210
- Patrick Olivelle (2014), The Early Upanisads, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195352429, page 3; Quote: "Even though theoretically the whole of vedic corpus is accepted as revealed truth [shruti], in reality it is the Upanishads that have continued to influence the life and thought of the various religious traditions that we have come to call Hindu. Upanishads are the scriptures par excellence of Hinduism".
- Flood 1996, p. 39.
- Witzel, M., "The Development of the Vedic Canon and its Schools : The Social and Political Milieu" in Witzel 1997, pp. 257–348
- Jamison and Witzel (1992), Vedic Hinduism, Harvard University, page 6
- J. Muir (1868), Original Sanskrit Texts on the Origin and History of the People of India - their religion and institutions at Google Books, 2nd Edition, page 12
- Albert Friedrich Weber, Indische Studien, herausg. von at Google Books, Volume 10, pp 1-9 with footnotes (in German); For a translation, Original Sanskrit Texts at Google Books, page 14
- For an example, see Sarvānukramaṇī Vivaraṇa Univ of Pennsylvania rare texts collection
- R̥gveda-sarvānukramaṇī Śaunakakr̥tāʼnuvākānukramaṇī ca, Maharṣi-Kātyayāna-viracitā, OCLC 11549595
- (Staal 1986)
- (Filliozat 2004, p. 139)
- Avari 2007, pp. 69–70
- Michael Witzel, "Vedas and Upaniṣads", in: Flood 2003, p. 69, Quote: "... almost all printed editions depend on the late manuscripts that are hardly older than 500 years"
- Nair 2008, pp. 84-227.
- Joshi 1994, pp. 91-93.
- Radhakrishnan & Moore 1957, p. 3; Witzel, Michael, "Vedas and Upaniṣads", in: Flood 2003, p. 68
- MacDonell 2004, pp. 29–39
- Jamison and Witzel (1992), Vedic Hinduism, Harvard University, page 21
- Witzel, M., "The Development of the Vedic Canon and its Schools : The Social and Political Milieu" in Witzel 1997, p. 286
- Original Sanskrit: Rigveda 10.129 Wikisource;
- Translation 1: Max Muller (1859). A History of Ancient Sanskrit Literature. Williams and Norgate, London. pp. 559–565.
- Translation 2: Kenneth Kramer (1986). World Scriptures: An Introduction to Comparative Religions. Paulist Press. p. 21. ISBN 0-8091-2781-4.
- Translation 3: David Christian (2011). Maps of Time: An Introduction to Big History. University of California Press. pp. 17–18. ISBN 978-0-520-95067-2.
- see e.g. Avari 2007, p. 77.
- For 1,028 hymns and 10,600 verses and division into ten mandalas, see: Avari 2007, p. 77.
- For characterization of content and mentions of deities including Agni, Indra, Varuna, Soma, Surya, etc. see: Avari 2007, p. 77.
- see e.g. Avari 2007, p. 77 Max Müller gave 1700–1100 BCE, Michael Witzel gives 1450-1350 BCE as terminus ad quem.
- Original text translated in English: The Rig Veda, Mandala 10, Hymn 117, Ralph T. H. Griffith (Translator);
C Chatterjee (1995), Values in the Indian Ethos: An Overview, Journal of Human Values, Vol 1, No 1, pages 3-12
- For example,
Hymn 1.164.34, "What is the ultimate limit of the earth?", "What is the center of the universe?", "What is the semen of the cosmic horse?", "What is the ultimate source of human speech?"
Hymn 1.164.34, "Who gave blood, soul, spirit to the earth?", "How could the unstructured universe give origin to this structured world?"
Hymn 1.164.5, "Where does the sun hide in the night?", "Where do gods live?"
Hymn 1.164.6, "What, where is the unborn support for the born universe?";
Hymn 1.164.20 (a hymn that is widely cited in the Upanishads as the parable of the Body and the Soul): "Two birds with fair wings, inseparable companions; Have found refuge in the same sheltering tree. One incessantly eats from the fig tree; the other, not eating, just looks on.";
Sources: (a) Antonio de Nicholas (2003), Meditations Through the Rig Veda: Four-Dimensional Man, ISBN 978-0595269259, pages 64-69;
Jan Gonda, A History of Indian Literature: Veda and Upanishads, Volume 1, Part 1, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, ISBN 978-3447016032, pages 134-135;
Rigveda Book 1, Hymn 164 Wikisource
- Michael Witzel, The Rigvedic religious system and its central Asian and Hindukush antecedents, in The Vedas - Texts, Language and Ritual, Editors: Griffiths and Houben (2004), Brill Academic, ISBN 978-9069801490, pages 581-627
- (from sāman, the term for a melody applied to metrical hymn or song of praise, Apte 1965, p. 981.
- Witzel, M., "The Development of the Vedic Canon and its Schools : The Social and Political Milieu" in Witzel 1997, pp. 269–270
- For 1875 total verses, see numbering given in Ralph T. H. Griffith. Griffith's introduction mentions the recension history for his text. Repetitions may be found by consulting the cross-index in Griffith pp. 491-99.
- Witzel, M., "The Development of the Vedic Canon and its Schools : The Social and Political Milieu" in Witzel 1997, pp. 270–271
- Witzel, M., "The Development of the Vedic Canon and its Schools : The Social and Political Milieu" in Witzel 1997, pp. 272–274
- Paul Deussen, Sixty Upanishads of the Veda, Volume 1, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120814684, pages 217-219
- Michaels 2004, p. 52 Table 3
- Michaels 2004, p. 56.
- "The latest of the four Vedas, the Atharva-Veda, is, as we have seen, largely composed of magical texts and charms, but here and there we find cosmological hymns which anticipate the Upanishads, -- hymns to Skambha, the 'Support', who is seen as the first principle which is both the material and efficient cause of the universe, to Prāna, the 'Breath of Life', to Vāc, the 'Word', and so on." Zaehner 1966, p. vii.
- Flood 1996, p. 37.
- "There were originally only three priests associated with the first three Saṃhitās, for the Brahman as overseer of the rites does not appear in the Ṛg Veda and is only incorporated later, thereby showing the acceptance of the Atharva Veda, which had been somewhat distinct from the other Saṃhitās and identified with the lower social strata, as being of equal standing with the other texts."Flood 1996, p. 42.
- Apte 1965, p. 37.
- Flood 1996, p. 37, Radhakrishnan & Moore 1957, p. 3, Witzel, Michael, "Vedas and Upaniṣads", in: Flood 2003, p. 76.
- Atharva Veda 2.32 Bhaishagykni, Charm to secure perfect health Maurice Bloomfield (Translator), Sacred Books of the East, Vol. 42, Oxford University Press; see also chapters 3.11, 3.31, 4.10, 5.30, 19.26 etc of Atharva veda
- Atharva Veda 4.2.36 Strijaratani Maurice Bloomfield (Translator), Sacred Books of the East, Vol. 42, Oxford University Press; Atharvaveda dedicates over 30 chapters to love relationships, sexuality and for conceiving a child, see e.g. chapters 1.14, 2.30, 3.25, 6.60, 6.78, 6.82, 6.130-6.132, etc
- Atharva Veda 6.3.30 Maurice Bloomfield (Translator), Sacred Books of the East, Vol. 42, Oxford University Press
- Atharva Veda 12.1 Maurice Bloomfield (Translator), Sacred Books of the East, Vol. 42, Oxford University Press
- Witzel, M., "The Development of the Vedic Canon and its Schools : The Social and Political Milieu" in Witzel 1997, pp. 275–276
- Apte 1965, p. 387.
- BR Modak, The Ancillary Literature of the Atharva-Veda, New Delhi, Rashtriya Veda Vidya Pratishthan, 1993, ISBN 81-215-0607-7
- Flood 1996, p. 111 dates it to the 4th century CE.
- Vishnu Purana, translation by Horace Hayman Wilson, 1840, Ch IV, http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/vp/vp078.htm
- Muir 1861, pp. 20–31
- Monier-Williams 2006, p. 207.  Accessed 5 April 2007.
- Apte 1965, p. 293.
- "Upaveda". Oxford University Press. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
- "ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT OF AYURVEDA: (A BRIEF HISTORY)". US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. Anc Sci Life. 1981 Jul-Sep; 1(1): 1–7.
- Frawley, David; Ranade, Subhash (2001). Ayurveda, Nature's Medicine. Lotus Press. p. 11. Retrieved 6 January 2015.
- Paul Kuritz (1988), The Making of Theatre History, Prentice Hall, ISBN 978-0135478615, page 68
- Sullivan 1994, p. 385
- Sanskrit original: Chandogya Upanishad, Wikisource;
English translation: Chandogya Upanishad 7.1.2, G Jha (Translator), Oriental Book Agency, page 368
- "Natyashastra" (PDF). Sanskrit Documents.
- Coormaraswamy and Duggirala (1917). "The Mirror of Gesture". Harvard University Press. pp. 2–4.
- Goswami, Satsvarupa (1976), Readings in Vedic Literature: The Tradition Speaks for Itself, S.l.: Assoc Publishing Group, pp. 240 pages, ISBN 0-912776-88-9
- Müller, Friedrich Max (author) & Stone, Jon R. (author, editor) (2002). The essential Max Müller: on language, mythology, and religion. Illustrated edition. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 0-312-29309-7, ISBN 978-0-312-29309-3. Source:  (accessed: Friday May 7, 2010), p.44
- "A Critical Study of the Contribution of the Arya Samaj to Indian Education", p. 68. by Pandit, Saraswati S
- "Lectures on the science of language, delivered at the Royal institution of Great Britain in 1861 [and 1863], Volume 1", by Max Muller, p. 148
- Apte, Vaman Shivram (1965), The Practical Sanskrit Dictionary (4th revised & enlarged ed.), Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 81-208-0567-4.
- Avari, Burjor (2007), India: The Ancient Past, London: Routledge, ISBN 978-0-415-35616-9
- Dundas, Paul (2002), The Jains, Routledge, ISBN 978-0-415-26605-5
- Flood, Gavin (1996), An Introduction to Hinduism, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-43878-0
- Flood, Gavin, ed. (2003), The Blackwell Companion to Hinduism, Malden, MA: Blackwell, ISBN 1-4051-3251-5
- Glasenapp, Helmuth Von (1999), Jainism, Motilal Banarsidass, pp. 494–498, ISBN 978-81-208-1376-2
- Holdrege, Barbara A. (1995), Veda and Torah, SUNY Press, ISBN 0-7914-1639-9
- MacDonell, Arthur Anthony Arthur Anthony Macdonell (2004), A History of Sanskrit Literature, Kessinger Publishing, ISBN 1-4179-0619-7
- Michaels, Axel (2004), Hinduism: Past and Present, Princeton University Press, ISBN 0-691-08953-1
- Monier-Williams, Monier, ed. (2006), Monier-Williams Sanskrit Dictionary, Nataraj Books, ISBN 1-881338-58-4.
- Muir, John (1861), Original Sanskrit Texts on the Origin and Progress of the Religion and Institutions of India, Williams and Norgate
- Müller, Max (1891), Chips from a German Workshop, New York: C. Scribner's sons.
- Radhakrishnan, Sarvepalli; Moore, Charles A., eds. (1957), A Sourcebook in Indian Philosophy (12th Princeton Paperback ed.), Princeton University Press, ISBN 0-691-01958-4.
- Smith, Brian K., "Canonical Authority and Social Classification: Veda and 'Varṇa' in Ancient Indian Texts", History of Religions, The University of Chicago Press (1992), 103-125.
- Sullivan, B. M. (Summer 1994), "The Religious Authority of the Mahabharata: Vyasa and Brahma in the Hindu Scriptural Tradition", Journal of the American Academy of Religion 62 (1): 377–401, doi:10.1093/jaarel/LXII.2.377.
- Witzel, Michael (ed.) (1997), Inside the Texts, Beyond the Texts. New Approaches to the Study of the Vedas, Harvard Oriental Series, Opera Minora vol. 2, Cambridge: Harvard University Press
- Zaehner, R. C. (1966), Hindu Scriptures, London: Everyman's Library
- J. Gonda, Vedic Literature: Saṃhitās and Brāhmaṇas, A History of Indian literature. Vol. 1, Veda and Upanishads (1975), ISBN 978-3-447-01603-2.
- J. A. Santucci, An Outline of Vedic Literature (1976).
- S. Shrava, A Comprehensive History of Vedic Literature — Brahmana and Aranyaka Works, Pranava Prakashan (1977).
- M. Bloomfield, A Vedic Concordance (1907)
- Vishva Bandhu, Bhim Dev, S. Bhaskaran Nair (eds.), Vaidika-Padānukrama-Koṣa: A Vedic Word-Concordance, Vishveshvaranand Vedic Research Institute, Hoshiarpur, 1963–1965, revised edition 1973-1976.
- Conference proceedings
- Griffiths, Arlo and Houben, Jan E. M. (eds.), The Vedas : texts, language & ritual: proceedings of the Third International Vedic Workshop, Leiden 2002, Groningen Oriental Studies 20, Groningen : Forsten, (2004), ISBN 90-6980-149-3.
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