Four Vedas — Forum

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. The Vedic canon in its entirety consists of texts from all the various Vedic schools taken together. The canonical division of the Vedas is fourfold (turīya) viz.


1   Rigveda

The Rigveda (from Sanskrit 'rik', "praise, verse" and veda "knowledge") are Vedic Sanskrit hymns dedicated to devas. It is one of the world's oldest religious texts in continued use, and one of the oldest extant texts of any Indo-European language. Rigveda seems to have been composed in the North-Western region of the Indian subcontinent somewhere between 1700-1100 BCE, in the early Vedic period. The language and the culture the Rigveda is marked by, has similarities to the early Iranian Avesta culture of ca. 2200-1600 BCE.

The Rikveda is a collection of 1028 hymns (10,500 verses in all). The text is organized in 10 books, known as Mandalas, of varying age and length. Each mandala consists of hymns called suktas (literally, "well recited, eulogy"). The suktas consist of individual stanzas marked by units of verse (padas, "feet").

Our presentation of the Rigveda is based upon Ralph Griffith's translation of 1889.

Book 1 - 191 hymns    Book 6 - 75 hymns
Book 2 - 43 hymns    Book 7 - 104 hymns
Book 3 - 62 hymns    Book 8 - 92 + 11 hymns
Book 4 - 58 hymns    Book 9 - 114 hymns
Book 5 - 87 hymns    Book 10 - 191 hymns

2   Samaveda

The Samaveda (Sanskrit: सामवेद, sāmaveda, from sāman "song" and veda "knowledge"), is the Veda of melodies and chants. It is an ancient Vedic Sanskrit text, and part of the scriptures of Hinduism. One of the four Vedas, it is a liturgical text whose 1,875 verses are primary derived from the Rigveda. Three recensions of the Samaveda have survived, and variant manuscripts of the Veda have been found in various parts of India.

While its earliest parts are believed to date from as early as the Rigvedic period, the existing compilation dates from the post-Rigvedic Mantra period of Vedic Sanskrit, c. 1200 or 1000 BCE, but roughly contemporary with the Atharvaveda and the Yajurveda.

Embedded inside the Samaveda is the widely studied Chandogya Upanishad and Kena Upanishad, considered as primary Upanishads and as influential on the six schools of Hindu philosophy, particularly the Vedanta school. The classical Indian music and dance tradition considers the chants and melodies in Samaveda as one of its roots.

Introduction   First Part    Second Part


3   Yajurveda

The Yajur Veda (Taittiriya Sanhita)

The Yajurveda (Sanskrit: यजुर्वेद, yajurveda, from yajus meaning "prose mantra" and veda meaning "knowledge") is the Veda of prose mantras. An ancient Vedic Sanskrit text, it is a compilation of ritual offering formulas that were said by a priest while an individual performed ritual actions such as those before the yajna fire.[1] Yajurveda is one of the four Vedas, and one of the scriptures of Hinduism. The exact century of Yajurveda's composition is unknown, and estimated by scholars to be around 1200 to 1000 BCE, contemporaneous with Samaveda and Atharvaveda.

The Yajurveda is broadly grouped into two – the "black" (Krishna) Yajurveda and the "white" (Shukla) Yajurveda. The term "black" implies "the un-arranged, unclear, motley collection" of verses in Yajurveda, in contrast to the "white" which implies the "well arranged, clear" Yajurveda. The black Yajurveda has survived in four recensions, while two recensions of white Yajurveda have survived into the modern times.

The earliest and most ancient layer of Yajurveda samhita includes about 1,875 verses, that are distinct yet borrow and build upon the foundation of verses in Rigveda. The middle layer includes the Satapatha Brahmana, one of the largest Brahmana texts in the Vedic collection. The youngest layer of Yajurveda text includes the largest collection of primary Upanishads, influential to various schools of Hindu philosophy. These include the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, the Isha Upanishad, the Taittiriya Upanishad, the Katha Upanishad, the Shvetashvatara Upanishad and the Maitri Upanishad.

Table of Contents    Kanda IV
Kanda I    Kanda V
Kanda II    Kanda VI
Kanda III    Kanda VII

4   Atharvaveda

The Atharva Veda (Sanskrit: अथर्ववेद, Atharvaveda from atharvāṇas and veda meaning "knowledge") is the "knowledge storehouse of atharvāṇas, the procedures for everyday life". The text is the fourth Veda, but has been a late addition to the Vedic scriptures of Hinduism.

The Atharvaveda is composed in Vedic Sanskrit, and it is a collection of 730 hymns with about 6,000 mantras, divided into 20 books. About a sixth of the Atharvaveda text adapts verses from the Rigveda, and except for Books 15 and 16, the text is in poem form deploying a diversity of Vedic matters. Two different recensions of the text – the Paippalāda and the Śaunakīya – have survived into modern times. Reliable manuscripts of the Paippalada edition were believed to have been lost, but a well-preserved version was discovered among a collection of palm leaf manuscripts in Odisha in 1957.

The Atharvaveda is sometimes called the "Veda of magical formulas", an epithet declared to be incorrect by other scholars. The Samhita layer of the text likely represents a developing 2nd millennium BCE tradition of magico-religious rites to address superstitious anxiety, spells to remove maladies believed to be caused by demons, and herbs- and nature-derived potions as medicine. Many books of the Atharvaveda Samhita are dedicated to rituals without magic and to theosophy. The text, states Kenneth Zysk, is one of oldest surviving record of the evolutionary practices in religious medicine and reveals the "earliest forms of folk healing of Indo-European antiquity".

It was likely compiled(assumed) as a Veda contemporaneously with Samaveda and Yajurveda, or about 1200 BC - 1000 BC. Along with the Samhita layer of text, the Atharvaveda includes a Brahmana text, and a final layer of the text that covers philosophical speculations. The latter layer of Atharvaveda text includes three primary Upanishads, influential to various schools of Hindu philosophy. These include the Mundaka Upanishad, the Mandukya Upanishad and the Prashna Upanishad.


Introduction    Collection IV    Collection VIII
Collection I    Collection V    Collection IX
Collection II    Collection VI    Collection X
Collection III    Collection VII



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Atharvaveda — Introduction The ForumBob Kalk 0 Bob Kalk
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Yajurveda — Kanda I The ForumBob Kalk 0 Bob Kalk
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Yajurveda — Table of Contents The ForumBob Kalk 0 Bob Kalk
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Samaveda — Introduction The ForumBob Kalk 0 Bob Kalk
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