that are chanted by priests in glorification of various aspects of the Supreme Beingduring sacrificial rituals. The second degree was the mastery of the
portion of the
, which teaches rituals for fulfillment of duties to family, society,demigods, sages, other living entities and the Supreme Lord. The third degree wasthe mastery of the
portion, which prepares the retired householder forcomplete renunciation. The fourth degree was the mastery of the
, whichpresent the philosophy of the Absolute Truth to persons seeking liberation from birthand death.The texts studied in the four stages of formal Vedic education are collectively called
, "scripture that is to be heard" by the
is notall there is to the Vedic literature.
7.1.2 declares that the
comprise the fifth division of Vedic study. The
teach the same knowledge as the four
, but it is illustrated withextensive historical narrations. The fifth
is known as
("scripture thatmust be remembered").
study was permitted to non-
.Traditionally, six schools of thought propagated Vedic wisdom, each from a differentphilosophical perspective. Each of these perspectives or
is associatedwith a famous sage who is the author of a
(code) expressing the essence of his
, which carefully examines and judges the sixsystems of Vedic philosophy (as well as other philosophies), forms the third greatbody of Vedic literature after the
. This is known as the
, "scripture of philosophical disputation."The
(six philosophical views) are
(analysis of matter and spirit),
(the discipline of self-realization),
(science of fruitive work) and
(science of Godrealization).The
, or "it is so"), becausethey all acknowledge the
as authoritative, as opposed to the
philosophies of the Carvakas, Buddhists and Jains (
, "it is not so"), who rejectthe
. Beginning with
, each of the
in their own turnpresents a more developed and comprehensive explanation of the aspects of Vedicknowledge.
sets up the rules of philosophical debate and identifies the basicsubjects under discussion: the physical world, the soul, God and liberation.
engages the method of
or logic in a deeper analysis of the predicament ofmaterial existence by showing that the visible material forms to which we are all soattached ultimately break down into invisible atoms.
develops this analyticalprocess further to help the soul become aloof to matter. Through
, the soulawakens its innate spiritual vision to see itself beyond the body.
directs the soul to the goals of Vedic ritualism.
focuses on the supremespiritual goal taught in the
.Originally, the six
were departments of study in a unified understanding ofthe
, comparable to the faculties of a modern university. But with the onset ofKali-yuga (the Age of Quarrel), the scholars of the
became divided andcontentious. Some even misrepresented Vedic philosophy for their own selfish ends.For instance,
(which by 500 BC had become the foremost