Published: 02.11.2010
Updated: 19.01.2012
Vaidic, Vedas, Vedic

Sanskrit: वेद veda, m. "knowledge"

The Veda.s are a large collection of religious scripture composed in Vedi.c Sanskrit. The date of origin is controversial since the transmission of texts in the Vedi.c period was by oral tradition alone, but it is assumed that the Rigveda was compiled from as early as 1500 BCE over a period of several centuries. The Ved.a constitutes the oldest scirptures of Hinduism.

The corpus of Vedi.c texts is composed of four canonical Saṃhitās:

  1. Rigved.a (ऋग्वेद gveda; from the root c "praise" or "verse") is a collection of hymns.
  2. Samaveda (सामवेद samaveda; from sāman "melody") is a selection of hymns from the Rigveda adapted to the ceremony of the Vedi.c sacrificial rituals.
  3. Yajurveda (यजुर्वेद yajurveda; from yajus "sacrificial formula') containing formulas to be sung by the Vedi.c priests. There are two primary versions (Saṃhitās) of the Yajurveda: Śukla (white) and Kṛṣṇa (black). Both contain the verses necessary for rituals, but the Kṛṣṇa Yajurveda includes the Brāhmaṇa prose discussions mixed within the Saṃhitā, while the Śukla Yajurveda has separately a Brahmana text, the Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa.
  4. Atharvaveda (अथर्ववेद atharvaveda; from atharvan, the name of an ancient Rishi) is a collection of hymns and incantations.

According to Hindu tradition the Veda.s are apauruṣeya  (not of human agency) and directly revealed by the ancient Rishis, thus the Vedi.c texts are refered as śruti ("what is heard").

Jaina tradition (and Buddhist as well) do not base its belief on the Veda.s and, as a result, did not regard the Veda.s as authorities.


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  1. Hinduism
  2. JAINA
  3. Jaina
  4. Kṛṣṇa
  5. Rishi
  6. Rishis
  7. Sanskrit
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