Vedic Literature-Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda, Atharv Veda and Aranyakas

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Rig Veda

  • It is the earliest among the Vedas.

  • It is a con-temporary composition.

  • It is a collection of hymns offered to various deities by various families of poets and sages.

  • It has 1028 hymns of which 1017 are original and 11 were added to it later.

  • It is divided into 10 Mandalas:

  • Mandalas U - VII are the oldest.

  • The 'Battle of Dasrajya' is mentioned in the VII Mandala.

  • Mandalas I and X were added later.

  • IX Mandal is dedicated to Soma.

  • The famous Purushasukta telling us about the four varnas - Brahmins, Kshat-riyas, Vaishyas and Shudras - is mentioned in the X Mandala. According to it,

  • Brahmans originated from mouth of Brahma.

  • Kshatriyas originated from the arms of Brahma.

  • Vaishyas originated from the thighs of Brahma.

  • Shudras originated from the feet of Brahma.

  • The famous Gayatri Mantra addressed to solar deity Savitri is also mentioned in the X Mandala.

  • A number of Brahmanas is associated with the Rig Veda. Some important are:

  • Aitareya Brahmana called Panchika, written by Mahidas Aitareya.

  • Kaushitiki Brahmana or Sankhayan'Brahmana.

Yajur Veda

  • It is called the Book of Prayers.

  • It is partly written in prose and partly in verse.

  • It has two parts: Shukla Yajurveda and Krishna Yajurveda.

  • Taiteriya Samhita is related to Krishna Yajurveda.

  • Vajseniya Samhita is related to Shukla Yajurveda.

  • The maximum number of commentaries is written on Yajur Veda.

Sama Veda

  • The earliest reference of singing is found here.

  • It has 1603 verses of which only 99 are original and the rest have been derived from the Rig Veda.

  • Gandharva Upaveda is related to Sam Veda.

  • The following Brahmanas are related to the Sam Veda:

  • Chandogya Brahmana mentioning about marriage and birth ceremonies.

  • Kena Brahmana.

  • Jaiminiya Brahmana also called Talabgar Brahmana.

  • Panchvisa Brahmana also known as Tandya Mahabrahmana.

  • It has 25 Mandalas and the 26th Mandala of this Brahmana is called Sadivas.

Atharva Veda

  • It is called the Book of magic.

  • It contains charms and spells to ward off evils and diseases.

  • It is related to the holy magic formulae and has 26 sections or Kharid.

Detailed dicription of four Veda of India

4 Veda

  • It contains 711 or 731 hymns whereas somewhere it has been mentioned that it contains 737 hymns.

  • It has 5978 mantras.

  • Trayi was the combined name of three early vedas -Rig Veda, Sam Veda and Yajur Veda.

  • Atharva Veda was a later development. It is also known as Brahmadeva.

  • The Upaveda related to it is known as Shilpa Upaveda.

  • The important Brahmanas related to it are Gopath Brahmana and Mundaka Brahmana.


  • These are Vedic texts originally written by the forest hermits and students living in jungles.

  • These are the concluding portions or appendix of the Brahmanas.

  • They laid emphasis on meditation and not on sacrifices.

  • Aranyaks (depicting transition from karmkand to karmyog) are philosophical rather than ritualistic and form a bridge between Brahmanas and Upanishads i.e. between the Karma Marg of the Brahmanas and the Gyan Marg of Upanishads.

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