Vedas means – knowledge. Vedas are the oldest scriptures of Hinduism. We can also say that it is the oldest creation of human civilization. The language of the Vedas is the ancient Sanskrit language. People of Hindu religion have the opinion that the construction of Vedas has been created for the purpose of welfare of the living beings of the world.
Meaning of Vedas:-
Vedas are made from a combination of Vid dhatu and Achha dhatu of Sanskrit language. Vid literally means “knowledge”. Vid literally means “knowledge”. Later on these words like Vidya, Vidya and Vidit were formed.
Vedas are also called Apaurusheya in Hinduism. Apaurusheya means that which was not created by any man or human being. It is believed that the Vedas were created by God and he gave this knowledge to sages for the welfare of the living beings. He received this knowledge in the form of Shruti (Shruti means – listening, that is, he received this knowledge by listening to God), hence Vedas are also called Shruti.
There are two beliefs about the knowledge of Vedas received in the form of Shruti.
There is a belief that the Vedas were given in the form of Shruti to Lord Brahma, the creator of the universe first. There is a belief that the Vedas were given in the form of Shruti to sages Agni, Vayu, Angira and Aditya. Then he gave this knowledge to Lord Brahma in the form of Shruti.
God had given the knowledge of 4 Vedas to 4 different sages which is as follows.
|Veda||Listener of the Vedas|
|Rig Veda||Maharishi Agni|
|Sama Veda||Maharishi Aditya|
|Atharva Veda||Maharishi Angira|
|Yajur Veda||Maharishi Vayu|
Other texts were composed to understand the knowledge of the Vedas. Out of which 3 are more prominent.
They are mentioned below:-
- brahmin granth
Although the language of all these is Vedic Sanskrit. Which is different from Laukik Sanskrit.
Whenever there is talk of Vedas, then there is also talk of the language used in it. We mostly hear of two types of language for the Vedas.
Difference between Vedic Sanskrit and Vernacular Sanskrit
1. Vedic Sanskrit – Vardik Sanskrit is mostly called ancient Sanskrit or complex Sanskrit. Most of the texts composed in Vedic Sanskrit are found before 500 BC. Almost all the compositions before Panini were in Vedic Sanskrit. Vedas, Upanishads were composed in Vedic Sanskrit language.
2. vernacular sanskrit – vernacular sanskrit is an updated version of Vedic Sanskrit. At present all the creations are in the cosmic Sanskrit language. After Panini, the main creation of all Hindu religion has been done in vernacular sanskrit. The texts after 500 BC have been composed through the medium of the cosmic Sanskrit language. The two great epics of Hinduism, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, were composed in vernacular sanskrit.
Time Period of Vedas
The exact time period of the composition of the Vedas cannot be ascertained. Scholars have different opinions about this. Most of the historians believe that the creation of Vedas must have happened around 1100-1500 BC. However, some mythological historians date the Vedas up to 7000 BC on the basis of internal astronomical evidence. However, people who believe in Hinduism believe that the creation of Vedas is premature. It is not right to add time to it. According to Vikram Samvat, the calendar of Hindu religion, the creation of Vedas can be 1,96,08,53,123 years old. Later it was scripted.
There has been a long debate on how old the Vedas are, but they all agree that the Vedas are the oldest scriptures of human civilization. Realizing its importance, UNESCO included it in its heritage list in the year 2007. 28 thousand manuscripts of Vedas have been kept in Bhanderkar Oriental Research Institute, Pune, Maharashtra. Out of these, 30 manuscripts of Rigveda which are very important were included in the list of their heritage.
Types of Veda
There are four types of Vedas. Which are the following respectively:-
Rigveda is the oldest and also the largest of the four Vedas. Rigveda has the most importance among all the four Vedas. There is a difference of opinion among the scholars regarding how much the Ringveda is old. According to Balgangadhar Tilak, it must have been composed before 6000 BC. According to Max Müller, Rigveda may have been composed between 1000 to 1200 BC and this time period is most valid.
“ऋच्यन्ते स्तुयन्ते अनया इति ऋक” means The Veda of praise of the gods or the prayers offered towards them is called Rigveda. Rig means status and Veda means knowledge. The Rigveda describes the prayer, praise of the gods and their position in their world. The Brahmanas and Aranyakas of the Ringveda are the Aitareya and Sankhyana, and its Upanishads are the Aitareya and Kaushitiki. According to the book Charanvyuh, five branches of Rigveda have been told. Which is as follows:-
Samaveda is one of the four types of Vedas. Samaveda is the shortest of all the Vedas. Sama means song and Veda means knowledge. That’s why it is called the Veda of music. However, here too it has been talked about attaining God through song. The deity of Samveda is Aditya and Acharya is Jaimini. Patanjali has given 1000 branches of Samveda. Presently 3 branches are available. Presently 3 branches are available. Which is as follows:-
Atharvaveda is one of the four Vedas. Atharva means motion or effort. Out of the four Vedas, this is one such Veda which has been named after Atharva Rishi. It was composed by Maharishi Atharva, hence its name Atharvaveda. In this Veda, praise of the gods, science, medicine and philosophy are also explained through mantras. There are different opinions about how old the Atharvaveda is, some people believe it to be 900 BC, but Max Muller’s research on the Vedas says that the Atharvaveda is probably 700 BC. Atharvveda is also known as the Veda that calms the mind. Ritvik of Atharveda is Brahma. Its teacher is Sumantu and its deity is Som.
Patanjali and Shaunak have accepted 9 branches of Atharvaveda, although at present only 2 branches are available that are followings:
Yajurveda is one of the four Vedas. This is the oldest Veda after Rigveda. The meaning of Yaju would be Yajna, that is, the collection of mantras for performing Yajna is called Yajurveda. It tells you about the mantra and its method of performing the Yagya. The Awadhi of Yajurveda is most valid from 1000 to 1400 BC.
Maharishi Patanjali accepted 100 branches of Yajurveda. Shaunak has accepted 86 branches in Charanvyuh. The main deity of Yajurveda is Vayu. Its main teacher is Vaishmapayan. Dhanurveda is a sub-veda of Yajurveda. There are two main parts of Yajurveda:-
- Shukla Yajurveda
- Krishna Yajurveda
Parts of Vedas/Vedic Literature
There are four types of Vedas. Apart from this, there are also four parts of Vedas or Vedic literature. Which is as follows:-
The first part of the four parts of Vedas is called Samhita. Samhita means a set of mantras. The collective part of the mantras of the Vedas is called Samhita. The code was composed in verse form. Samhita is the most complex interpretation of the Vedas, which is very difficult to understand. Samhita is found in all the four Vedas.
What is Vedatrayi ?
The three types of Vedas are called Vedatrayi. At present we compile four Vedas. But earlier only three Vedas were considered. Which is as follows:-
Difference between Smriti and Shruti
Two terms are widely used for Vedic literature or Veda. Smriti and Shruti. Smriti and Shruti are a special basis in the composition of Vedas.
Shruti means hearing or listening to the voice of God. There is no change in its words with time, hence Shruti is also called unchanging. One meaning of Shruti is also mother. All our Vedas are called Shruti according to Vedic scriptures.
Smriti means writing the stories heard in one’s own way. Changes are made in it with the passage of time. It is changeable. All our Puranas, Upanishads, epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata are called Smriti. They are also translated into regional language.