INTRODUCTION TO VEDA'S

Veda is abundant source of knowledge. It is considered as the basic scripture of Hinduism. The word Veda is derived from the Sanskrit root 'vid', which means 'to know'. It is said that God created the knowledge in a unique form called 'Veda'. As it was not created by any purusha or man, it is called APAURUSHEYA. Later the great sage Vyaasa, who

compiled eighteen puraanaas and wrote Mahabharatha, classified Veda as Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda and Atharva(na)  Veda. It is difficult to understand the vast Veda unless somebody has the power and blessings like Vyaasa and we know howmany of us have them. However, the grate sage could foresee this and classified veda into four in order to make it is for the coming generations to understand and follow them. In the ancient tradition of Gurukul, gurus taught vedas to their disciples by means of chanting and the disciples learnt them by listening. That is why the vedas were called as 'SHRUTHIS'.

Vyasa taught Rig Veda to Paila, Yajur Veda to Vaishyampayana, Sama Veda to Jaimini and Atharvana Veda to Sumanta.  Paila, Vaishayampayana, Jaimini and Sumanta were Vyasa's disciples.

 Rig Veda has the hymns, praising the virtues of Gods. >>

Yajur Veda prescribes the ways and means of conducting Yagnas, which are performed with various objectives.>>

Sama Veda describes the way to please the Gods through music. >>

Atharvana Veda deals with a number of worldly things and spiritual knowledge. >>

Veda proposes Brahma or Paramaatman, Atman and the unification of Paramaatman and Atman.
For easier comprehension of Veda, Maharshis have further classified the Veda into Mantra and Brahmana.

Samhita is the name given to the collection of the Mantras. The Brahmana includes in itself two more sections, the Aranyaka and the Upanishad. If the Mantras comprise the hymns, the Brahmanas contain liturgies in prose. The Aranyakas teach about meditations based on symolical interpretations of the liturgiecal rites. The Upanishad may roughly be classified as philosophical treatises dealing with the ultimate problems of life. The archaic form of Veda was rather difficult to understand necessitating further classification. The six Vedaangas, six subsidiary sciences that help unfold the Vedic wisdom, came into existence. They are-SikshaVyaakaranaChandasNiruktaJyotisha and Kalpa.

Siksha deals with the details of the metres of Vedic poetry. Nirukta gives the meanings and explanations of Vedic words. Jyotisha though a work of astronomy is more directly concerned with the times and periods suitable for the performance of the Vedic sacrifices.

Kalpa in the form of sutras or aphorisms, has four branches namely Shrauta, Grihya, Dharma and Sulba. It deals with all aspects of sacrificial rites and smaller religious rites performed at home. In understanding the Vedic literature, Bhashyas or commentaries have played a key role. There have been a galaxy of commentators over the centuries, among whom Saayanaacharya (belonging to 14th century) holds a unique place, not only because of the volume of his work but also because of the quality.

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