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 Title : Vedas are the everlasting eyes of the Indian Tradition Author : Dr Rajeshkumar Narmadeya

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The origin of the word ‘Veda’ lies in the Dharmasutra, Manusmruti, Natyashastra and Amarkosha of the ‘Taiteriya Samhita’. The word Vedas is made from four verbs. They are – 1. Vida which means knowledge, 2. Vida which means truth, 3. Vida which means gain and 4. Vida which means ask.

Through Vedas all human beings understand the truth or gain it or ask about it or become knowledgeable through it or they feel inspired to gain the true knowledge. In Manusmruti Vedas are called as the most knowledgeable.

The usage of the word Vedas is to be found in all vedic literatures like Samhita, Brahmana, Aranyak and Upanishada. Vedas means hymns and Brahmana. But over a period of time the word Veda got restricted to only 4 kinds of literature viz. Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samveda and Atharvaveda. Brahman, Aranyak and Upanishada belong to vedic literature but are considered to be different from the original Vedas. Sayanacharya has explained this in Taiteriya Samhita. Even though hymns and Brahmana together are called as Veda, the hymns are the original. The Rishis got this divine knowledge of Vedas. Those who acquired knowledge by their meditation and devotion were called as sages, Which included men and women alike. Vedic knowledge, which was acquired from Ruchas or sentences were called as hymns. There are three kinds of hymns. 1. Dnyanarthak, 2. Vicharatmak and 3. Satkararthak.

Vedas have been classified in two ways: 1. Trividha, 2. Chaturvidha In trividha the vedic hymns are subdivided into 1. Ruk, 2. Yajusha and 3. Sama, these three together are called Trayi.

Apart from these three was a lot of literature available in Vedas. The differentiation and edition of all four Vedas was done by Maharshi vedavyas. This has been mentioned by Vyasa in nikruta (1-20) and by Bhaskar Bhatta in Yajurveda. The literature which developed from each Veda is divided into 4 parts, 1. Samhita, 2. Brahmana, 3. Aranyak, 4. Upanishada. Samhita contain vedic praises. Brahmana contains definitions of hymns and its explanation. Aranyak contains Akhyagan and Vidhividhan. Upanishadas contain definitions.

Due to vedic teaching many branches developed from it. Over a period of time many samhitas got destroyed, but some are still available.

1.Rigveda – It had five branches: Shakala, Vahkala, Ashwalayana, Shankhayana, mandukya. Out of these only Shakala branch is available today.

2.Shuklayajurveda : It has two branches: Madhyandina and Kanva Madyandina is found in North In dia and Kanva is found in Maharashtra.

3. Krishna Yajurveda – 4 branches are available today: Taiteriya, Maitrayeni, Kathak and Katha.

4. Samaveda: Two branches are available today: Kouthuki and Ranayaniya.

5. Atharvaveda : two branches are available today: Paipalalada and Shounak veda.

For a yadya(sacrifice) following four Ritvijas are necessary. They are Hota, Ahavarya, Udagata and Brahma. Hota means one who challenges. It challenges specific Gods by chanting hymns in their praise at the time of Yadnya. The collection of such hymns is called Rigveda. Adhvaryu has the duty of gaining yadnya. The hymns necessary for this are found in Yajurveda. Udgata means one who sings in a high pitch. The hymns necessary for this can be found in Samaveda. Brahma its job is to keep an eye on the yadnya and observe it. It has knowledge of all four Vedas.

Shatpatha Brahmana: It is mentioned here that Rigveda originated from fire, Yajurveda from wind and Samveda from the sun. Trivrudved means Ruk, Yaju and Sama hymns.

Mundakopanishad: It calls Ruk and other four Vedas as Apara Vidya. History and Puranas are also included in this. It is said that Vedas are immortal and it stays intact even in disastrous conditions. Such type of literature is said to be the one which has been constructed at the time of the first stage of the formation of the universe. Vedas are said to be a divine form constructed by the Almighty God and not by the human being. The spread of Brahmaswaroop and Nityagana happens only through Vedas. N. Vedas have survived with time because they are knowledge based. They reside in the heart of God. The awakened stage of God is nature and the sleeping stage is Pralaya or destruction. When the world is destructed the Lord leaves his sleeping stage and rescues the world.

Manusamhita says that the whole universe was created by the ‘Sisrus’ with the help of Paramatma. In the first stage of the universe there is creation of Brahma. This is beyond comprehension of human mind and speech. Jagadguru Shankaracharya has done a very beautiful interpretation of a hymn from Mundakopanishada. The food is developed by serious penance of Brahma, which further gives rise to Hiranyagarbha. According to the Shrutis this Hiranyagarbha is the minute form of Brahma, in which the energy of creation of universe lies. Paramatma introduced the Veda-Rashi in this minute form of Brahma. That explains the divinity of the Vedas. In Vajasneyee Brahmashthopanishad the Brahma is defined as mind and freedom. The term mind in this sense also includes ego etc. This minute form of Brahma then gets integrated into the big universe. When the sages meditate and concentrate they acquire the knowledge of Vedamantras. They unite with the divinity of Brahma and then only acquire the knowledge of Vedas. The Parmatma has three forms. 1. Adhyatma, 2. Adhidaiva, 3. Adhibhoot. Smrutis believe that spiritual knowledge originated from the three forms of Paramatma. So Vedas are complete with three ‘Arthas’ and three ‘Bhavas’. Vedas contain ‘Triguna’ and ‘Tribhava’.

To understand Vedas the knowledge of education, grammar, meter and astrology is extremely essential. Apart from this the knowledge of vedic saptadarshana is also essential. The knowledge is incomplete if any one element is less. One can understand Vedas if one performs his duty, is knowledgeable and can keep his mind clear with knowledge that he has acquired.

In Vedas we find reference of sage Dwandwa and Gods. The conclusion of this is that the hymn is published by the name of that particular sage. So that hymn gets the name of that sage. The hymns also have a particular metre. The hymn with which a form of the deity is worshipped, that hymn gets the name of that deity. Every vedic hymn has different different power, So by understanding the metre of that hymn only can one comprehend the supernatural strength of it. By knowing about the deity we come to know about its super natural strength and by knowing the name of the sage we come to know of its spiritual power.

The subjects included in the Vedas – The subjects included in all the four Vedas can be described as follows:

1.Rigveda Samhita: There are 10 Mandals in it. Ult further contains 85 Anuvak in which there are 1028 Suktas. Mandal Anuvak and Sukta Vartaman are other names of Khanda Paricched. In the first Mandal of Rigveda there are 24 Anuvak, in the 2nd there are 4, in the third there are 5, in the 4th there are 5, in the 5th till 6th there are 6 each, in 8th there are 10, 9th there are 7 and in the 10th terea er 12. the number of Suktas in each Mandal is 191, 43, 62, 58, 87, 75, 104, 108, 114 and 191. there are different kinds of Suktas. Mahasukta, Kshudrasukta, Rishisukta, Chandasukta and Devatasukta. In Mahabhashya there is a menion of 21 branches of Rigveda, but hardly 5 branches are available now. Two Brahmanas of Rigveda are available. Aiteriya and Koushitkiya Sankhyana. In Aiteriya Brahmana there are 8 panjikas, in each panjikatva there are 5 Adhyayas and in each Adhyaya there are many Kandas. The Aranyak of Rigveda is called Aitareya – it has 5 Aranyaka and 18 Adyayas.

2.Yajurved samhita: It has two parts. Shukla and Krushna. Krishnayajurvedasamhita is also called as Taiteriya Samhita, it had 68 branches according to Charanvyha. According to Mahabhashya Yaju had 101 branches and according to Mundakopanishada it had 109 branches. As of today only 12 branches and 14 sub branches are available. In mantra Brahmanatmak Krishna Yajurveda there are in all 18,000 hymns. Taiteriya samhita has 7 Ashtams, in which there are 7 to 8 Adhyayas each. Adyayas are also called as Prashna. Ashtakas are also called as Prapathakas. Each Adhyaya contains many anuvaks, and in all there are 700 Anuvaks. In it there is a description of Yadnyas like Ashwamegha, Agnishtom, Jyotischtom. rajasuya, Atirata etc. the Brahmana of Krushna Yajusamhita is also called taiteriya aranyak. It calls the Dnyanakanda as taiteuya Upanishadas. Apart from this there is also mention of Maiotrayaniya Upanishada, Kathopanishada, Shwetashwatar Upanishada and Narayanorapanishada.

Shukla Yajurveda is also called as Vajasneyi Madhyandini Samhita. Its sage is Yadnyavalka. There are 40 Adhyayas, 290 Anuvakas and many Kndas in it.

The description of Yadnyas like Darshapourna mas, Agnishtom, Vajapeya, Agnihotra, Chaturmasya, Poshadshi, Ashwsmegha, Purushmeva etc. is found here. There is also a description of the social customs of vedic times in it. There are 14 Kandas included in two branches in which Bruhadaranyakopnishad is included. Shatapatha Brahmana is also included in the Madhyandini branch of this veda. Its two parts contain 14 Kandas, in which Brihadaranyakopa in also included.

3.Samveda samhita: Out of 100 branches of Samveda only Asurayaniya, Vasurayaniya, Vastantiveya Praushal, Rigvarnameva, Prachin Yogya, Dnyanayogya, ranayaniya are found today. The nine Medas of Rananiya are: Shatyayamiya., Staval, Madgal, Khalvat, Mahakhalval,m Ladal, Kouthum, Goutam, Jaiminiya. All these branches have dissappeared. Now only Kouthumi branch is available today. There are two parts of Samaveda: Purva and Udhar. The purva samhita is also called Cchanda archika or saptasama namo. It has six paripathakas. The uttar samhita of Samaveda is called Uttararchika or Aranyagana. In its Brahmana part there is a description of Arsheysa, Vedatadyaya, Adbhut, tandaya mahabrahma, samavidhana etc. Out of them the Cchandogya and Kenopanishada of Dnyanakanda are important.

4.Atharvaveda Samihita: The number of Atharvaveda is 1230, but out of this only a small part is available. Its 9 branches are: Paippal, Danta, Pradanta, Snata, Soutna, brahmadaval, Shounak, Daividarshani and charanavidya. Out of these only Shounak branch is available today. It has 20 kandas. Atahrvaveda contains Sahtrupidan atmaraksha, vipadnivarana etc. It is said that today’s technical knowledge id ==s based on it. in it’s Yadnyakanda there were lot of Upanishadas. Today only Jawal Kaivalya, Anadavalli, Aruneya, Tejauvindu, Dhyanvindu, Amrutvindu, Brahmavindu, nadavindu, prashna, mandak, Atahrva Shiras, garbha Mandukya, neelrudra, etc. are available. here are three ways of thinking about editing of the Atharvaveda. Atahraveda is edited by sage Atharva, the descendents of sage Angira, an" the descendents of Rhugu. In Suntasamhita, it is written that Maharshi veda vyas divided the Vedas into 4 parts.

According to Smrutis the knowledge which one cannot acquire by logic and deduction can be acquired through the vedas.

Tag Names : Athrvaved,Yajurved,Rugveda,Ved
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