The Vedas are the four holiest books of the Hindu religion. They are believed to be one of the oldest books ever made by mankind. They are written in an earlier Indian language called Sanskrit. They have phrases (called mantras) which are chanted at the religious ceremonies.
Although they were finally written down around 1,500 BC, they are actually much much older. They were passed down orally from one generation to the next, perhaps over thousands of years. The Vedas have stories about the Hindu gods, instructions for rituals, hymns, poetry, and prayers. The word "Vedic" means something about the Vedas. The language of the Vedas is called Vedic Sanskrit.
Later types of Hinduism that are very different from the types of Hinduism that follow the Vedas respect them.
The four Vedas are:
Rigveda[change | change source]
Rigveda is the first of the four Vedas. Rigveda means a Veda of praise. This Veda has several verses (hymns). These hymns praise a number of gods. This Veda is also the oldest Hindu holy book.
Samaveda[change | change source]
Samaveda is the second Veda of the four Vedas. Samaveda means the Veda of sacred songs. This Veda also has many hymns. They were sung by the Hindu priests and other Hindus during religious activities.
Yajurveda[change | change source]
Yajurveda is the third of the four Vedas. Yajurveda means the Veda of the Yajus. Yajus were mantras sung during religious activities. Yajurveda is divided into two parts. The name of the first part is Black Yajurveda, called Taittiriya. The name of the second part is White Yajurveda, called Vajasaneyi.
Atharvaveda[change | change source]
Atharvaveda is the fourth of the four Vedas. Atharvaveda means the Veda of knowledge. The Atharvaveda holds key for the massive vedic knowledge on the sciences like medicine, sorcery and has many facts that the present generation is still trying to crack.
References[change | change source]
- Flood, Gavin. An Introduction to Hinduism. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 1996. ISBN 0-521-43878-0.
- Michaels, Axel. Hinduism: Past and Present. Princeton University Press: 2004. ISBN 0-691-08953-1.
- Radhakrishnan, Sarvepalli; and Moore, Charles A. A Source Book in Indian Philosophy. Princeton University Press, 1957; Princeton paperback 12th edition, 1989. ISBN 0-691-01958-4.
- Walker, Benjamin Hindu World: An Encyclopedic Survey of Hinduism, (Two Volumes), Allen & Unwin, London, 1968; Praeger, New York, 1968; Munshiram Manohar Lal, New Delhi, 1983; Harper Collins, New Delhi, 1985; Rupa, New Delhi, 2005, ISBN 81-291-0670-1.
- Winternitz, Moriz. History of Indian Literature. Vol. 1 (of two volumes), p. 1. (Calcutta 1926)