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Vedas

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"Veda" and "Vedic" redirect here. For other uses, see Veda (disambiguation) and Vedic
(disambiguation).
The Vedas (/ˈveɪdəz, ˈviː-/;[1] Sanskrit: ववेद véda, "knowledge") are a large body of knowledge texts
originating in the ancient Indian subcontinent. Composed in Vedic Sanskrit, the texts constitute the
oldest layer of Sanskrit literature and the oldest scriptures of Hinduism.[2][3] Hindus consider the Vedas
to be apaurus ṣeya, which means "not of a man, superhuman"[4] and "impersonal, authorless".[5][6][7]
Vedas are also called śruti ("what is heard") literature,[8] distinguishing them from other religious
texts, which are called smrtiṣ ("what is remembered"). The Veda, for orthodox Indian theologians, are
considered revelations seen by ancient sages after intense meditation, and texts that have been
more carefully preserved since ancient times.[9][10] In the Hindu Epic the Mahabharata, the creation of
Vedas is credited to Brahma.[11] The Vedic hymns themselves assert that they were skillfully created
by Rishis (sages), after inspired creativity, just as a carpenter builds a chariot. [10]
There are four Vedas: the Rigveda, the Yajurveda, the Samaveda and the Atharvaveda.[12][13] 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 (texts
discussing meditation, philosophy and spiritual knowledge).[12][14][15] Some scholars add a fifth category
– the Upasanas (worship).[16][17]
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).[note 1] Other śramanṇa 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.[19][20] Despite their differences, just
like the texts of the śramanṇa traditions, the layers of texts in the Vedas discuss similar ideas and
concepts.[19]

Contents
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 1Etymology and usage

 2Chronology

o 2.1Ancient universities

 3Categories of Vedic texts

o 3.1Vedic Sanskrit corpus

o 3.2Shruti literature

 4Vedic schools or recensions

 5Four Vedas

o 5.1Rigveda

cognate to Greek (ϝ)εἶδος "aspect".5. e.3Yajurveda o 5.4Atharvaveda o 5. in agada-veda "medical science".5Puranas  7Western Indology  8See also  9Notes  10References o 10.3Upaveda o 6. Not to be confused is the homonymous 1st and 3rd person singular perfect tense véda. "form" .2Aranyakas and Upanishads  6Post-Vedic literature o 6."to know". etc. This is reconstructed as being derived from the Proto-Indo-European root *uueid-.1Vedanga o 6. English wit. wisdom" is derived from the root vid..g. etc.2Parisista o 6. cognate to Greek (ϝ)οἶδα (w)oida "I know".2Samaveda o 5. sasya- . [21] The noun is from Proto-Indo-European *uueidos.[22] The Sanskrit term veda as a common noun means "knowledge". Root cognates are Greek ἰδ έα.4"Fifth" and other Vedas o 6.1Bibliography  11Further reading  12External links Etymology and usage The Sanskrit word véda "knowledge. Latin videō "I see". o 5.5. but can also be used to refer to fields of study unrelated to liturgy or ritual.5Embedded Vedic texts  5.1Brahmanas  5. meaning "see" or "know".

and reaches its end in the age of Buddha and Panini and the rise of the Mahajanapadas (archaeologically. 500-400 BC. with the establishment of the various shakhas all over Northern India which annotated the mantra samhitas with Brahmana discussions of their meaning. He gives 150 BC (Patañjali) as a terminus ante quem for all Vedic Sanskrit literature. [38] The Sampurnanand Sanskrit University has a Rigveda manuscript from the 14th century.[40] Ancient universities The Vedas. Witzel suggests the possibility of written Vedic texts towards the end of 1st millennium BCE.[23] A related word Vedena appears in hymn 8. surviving manuscripts rarely surpass an age of a few hundred years. a secret. Wilson.[35][37] Due to the ephemeral nature of the manuscript material (birch bark or palm leaves). calling it a "parallel products of a literate society". Griffith as "ritual lore". however oral tradition of transmission remained active. as "bundle of grass" by Max Müller. without being written down. the word Veda includes the Tamil writings of the Alvar saints.[30][31] The Samhitas date to roughly 1700–1100 BC. Vedic rituals and its ancillary sciences called the Vedangas. were part of the curriculum at ancient universities such as at Taxila. for example Tiruvaymoli. durveda means "with bad knowledge. date to c. Witzel makes special reference to the Near Eastern Mitanni material of the 14th century BC the only epigraphic record of Indo-Aryan contemporary to the Rigvedic period.H. and 1200 BC (the early Iron Age) as terminus post quem for the Atharvaveda. resulting in a Vedic period. then noting that the Vedic literature is too consistent and vast to have been composed and transmitted orally across generations. 1500 to c. there are a number of older Veda manuscripts in Nepal that are dated from the 11th century onwards. the Vedic texts likely involved both a written and oral tradition. [32] and the "circum-Vedic" texts. spanning the mid 2nd to mid 1st millennium BC. or the Late Bronze Age and the Iron Age. basing this view by comparing inconsistencies in the transmitted versions of literature from various oral societies such as the Greek.[note 2] perhaps earliest in the Kanva recension of the Yajurveda about the 1st century BC.[33] The Vedic period reaches its peak only after the composition of the mantra texts. ignorant". and as "with the Veda" by H. as well as the redaction of the Samhitas.[39] however. Marai literally means "hidden. adds Goody.19. Michael Witzel gives a time span of c. [36] Some scholars such as Jack Goody state that "the Vedas are not the product of an oral society". after the rise of Buddhism in the Maurya period.[24] It was translated by Ralph T.[34] Transmission of texts in the Vedic period was by oral tradition. preserved with precision with the help of elaborate mnemonic techniques. Serbia and other cultures.[29] Chronology Main article: Vedic period The Vedas are among the oldest sacred texts. 1000-500 BC. [37] However. A literary tradition is traceable in post-Vedic times.[25] as "studying the Veda" by the 14th century Indian scholar Sayana. Nalanda and Vikramashila.[41][42][43][44] . such as Divya Prabandham.[27][28] In some south Indian communities such as Iyengars.[26] Vedas are called Maraiṣ or Vaymoli in parts of South India. Northern Black Polished Ware). mystery". H.veda "science of agriculture" or sarpa-veda "science of snakes" (already found in the early Upanishads).5 of the Rigveda.