What are The 4 Main Vedas of Hinduism??All about Vedas!!
Books are the golden keys to unlock the golden doors of wisdom. You can say a book is the compressed version of the author’s extremely hard work and his lifelong experiences.
Books are a very good way to preserve our ideas and our experiences.
There are sacred texts of each religion which contains its ideas, theories, rules, regulations, etc.
Like this only, Hinduism has its sacred texts which are the Holy Vedas.
The Vedas are ancient Hindu texts which were written 6000-7000 years ago.
Now there are two types of texts in Hinduism:- “Shruti” and “Smriti”.
The Smriti texts are those which are written and preserved in manuscripts.
Shruti texts are those texts which are only heard and listened to by each other and then practiced.
The Vedas are classified as Shruti texts.
These sacred books are the results of the hard work of all ages and the wisdom of our sages.
Vedas are referred to as “Super books”, as these books contain knowledge on every subject, whether it be science, math, astrology, physics, etc.
The points which are written in Vedas are even true in today’s world as well.
This book is not only ancient scriptures, but they are a treasure of unlimited knowledge.
ORIGIN OF VEDAS
Rishi Ved Vyasa compiled the Vedic texts 6000-7000 years ago. Till then, they were only heard and remembered orally. It is believed that Vedas have been there since the presence of Universe.
According to the scriptures, the Vedas were created by Lord Brahma and were first propagated by him only.
The four heads of Lord Brahma symbolizes the four Vedas, each Veda from each mouth.
The Vedic texts are the oldest texts of this world. The Rigveda is the oldest text in all and is referred to as “Mother of all texts”.
It was written much before the other scriptures.
From the Rig Veda, all the other scriptures such as the Upanishads and Samhitas have evolved.
Veda’s categorization and parts
There are four Vedas:- The Rig, The Yajur, The Sama, and Atharva Veda. Detailed information on these four Vedas has been given below.
The Rig Veda comprises 10,600 verses. It contains 1028 hymns dedicated to different Deities. While being the oldest, it is also the longest Veda.
The Rig Veda contains prayers and hymns of different Deities like Brahma, Indra, Agni, Rudra (Shiva), Vishnu, Surya, etc.
These prayers or hymns are called “Riks”, that’s why this text got its name as Rig Veda.
Along with the hymns, the Rigveda also contains knowledge about cosmology, the universe, stars and constellations, astrology, etc.
The Yajur Veda contains knowledge about worship, rituals, and rites.
It contains the procedure of specific ceremonies and functions. Ex:- Funeral, Weddings, Baptism, etc.
It contains 1975 verses.
The Yajur Veda has two parts. One is the “Shukl part” and one is the “Krishn part”.
The Shukl part is the organized part, in which all the contents are ordered and written in a manner.
While the Krishn part is the unorganized part and the contents of it are not in any order.
The Sama Veda is the shortest in all. It only contains 1575 verses. This Veda contains mainly hymns, prayers, music, and devotional songs.
Many people believe that the concept of music and dance has evolved from this Veda only.
According to many historians, this Veda is the mother of all the Indian classical music and dance styles.
Many hymns and prayers of this Veda have been borrowed from the Rig Veda as well.
The most popular and studied Upanishads, Kena and Chandogya Upanishads, have come from this Veda only.
The Atharva is the fourth and the youngest Veda. This Veda contains knowledge about different rituals and rites.
It gives details on Mantras and worship, different types of pujas for different types of Gods..
Along with the black magic, it also contains the knowledge of medicines, medical treatments, and surgeries.
It contains knowledge on diseases and disorders of your body.
A Yagya is done by four priests. These four priests are masters of the four Vedas. These priests perform the Yagya and each one has a specific role in the Yagya.
The detailed information on these priests is given below.
Hotri is a Rig Vedic priest. He is the chief priest in the Yagya. The Hotri recites different hymns, praises and mantras of the yagya. These hymns and mantras are called Riks.
Along with the chanting of mantras, he also supervises the yagya.
Adhvaryu is the Yajurvedic priest. He has the responsibilities of bringing and making the physical details of the yagya.
Ingredients of yagya like water, wood, oil, camphor etc. are brought by him. Also measuring the ground and building the altar is his work.
Udgatri is the Sama vedic priest. He sings hymns, songs and different praises of the deities. Each yagya has it’s own major residing deity.
Udgatri chants praises and hymns of that residing deity of the yagya.
Brahman is the Atharva Vedic priest. The Brahman is the master of healing and spells.
When the other three priests commit any mistake or do any mistake in the yagya, the Brahman corrects it.
He largely remains silent only when a mistake is done, he chants mantras and corrects it.
PARTS OF VEDAS
Each veda is divided into four parts. Vedas have a lot of subjects and there are vast things to study in them. If we say in other words, they are very complex.
So the Vedas were divided into parts for simplicity so that normal people can also understand it.
There are four parts of each veda. These are Brahmanas, Aranyakas, Samhitas and Upanishads. Each veda has it’s own Brahmana, Aranyaka, Samhita and Upanishad.
The Brahmanas are those parts of Vedas which contain the knowledge of yagya, rites and rituals. These texts constitute about 79% of the whole Vedic literature.
These texts contain knowledge on every point of the rituals. From small worships to large and huge yagyas.
The Rigveda contains Aitreya and Shankhayana Brahmana. The Yajurveda contains Shatapatha and Taittriya Brahmana. Similarly Smaveda contains Jaiminiya and Atharvaveda contains Gopatha Brahmana.
The Aranyakas are the texts which describe the importance and significance of the yagyas and rituals of the Brahmanas.
It was meant to explain the meaning and symbolism behind the rituals told in the Brahmanas.
These texts were mainly written by forest hermits and forest sages.
Unlike the Brahmana, Aranyakas don’t have their specific name as each Brahmana has it’s own Aranyaka. Each Brahmana has it’s own Aranyaka attached or embedded in it.
The Samhitas are texts containing hymns and praises of each deity and each yagya. These texts contain mantras and prayers dedicated to different gods.
These hymns are meant to be canted in worships and yagyas to enhance the results and powers of the worships. Also this mantras can be used for spirituality and devotion.
Each god has it’s own Samhita. These Samhitas are also attached to their particular Brahmana, like Aranyakas.
WHAT ARE UPANISHADS
The Upanishads are the most important parts of the Vedas. These texts contain spiritual knowledge, philosophies and ideas on devotion, worship etc. These texts are philosophical in nature.
These parts contain teachings on morals, life duties, wisdom etc. The Upanishads focus more on knowledge and devotion rather than just rituals and worships.
They tell us about life, morals, codes and conducts etc. they also contain knowledge on Yoga and Meditation.
There are various Upanishads such as Taittriya, Chandogya, Isa, Kena, Mundaka, Brihdaranyaka etc. Out of all these, the Kena and Chandogya Upanishads are mostly studied.
WHAT ARE PURANAS
The Puranas are mythological in nature. Unlike the Vedas which contain only knowledge, the Puranas only contain stories and legends.
The Vedas only contain knowledge and information. But Puranas are not informative texts, they just contain legends.
The Puranas contain stories on gods, their genealogies, legends of heroes and folktales of different regions.
We can understand this from an example. Just suppose this world to be a product and God to be it’s manufacturer.
Now when you purchase any product in the market, you get a manual attached with it also. The manual only contains the information, rules of use and functions of that product.
Similarly Vedas are the manual of this product named world
Now you don’t get any history book attached to the product, which tells the history of that product, it’s owner etc.
If you want to know the history of that product or it’s owner, you can search for it elsewhere in the market or on the internet.
So Puranas are the history books of this world and it’s creator, God.
CATEGORIZATION OF PURANAS
There are 18 Puranas. These are divided into three categories. These three categories are
Sattvik, Rajasic and tamasic Puranas.
The Sattvik Puranas glorify Vishnu. The Rajasic Puranas glorify Brahma and the Tamasic Puranas glorify Shiva.
These 18 Puranas are Agni, Bhagavad, Brahma, Brahmanda, Brahm Vaivarta, Linga, Kurma, Matsya, Varaha, Markandeya, Devi, Skanda, Vishnu, Narada, Vamana, Garuda,
Padma and Bhavishya Purana.
Agni Purana: contains knowledge on Brahman, astrology and gems.
Bhagavad Purana: contains stories of Vishnu and his form Krishna.
Brahma Purana: contains information on Lord Brahma.
Brahmanda Purana: has knowledge of the universe, it’s creation and existence.
Brahm Vaivarta Purana: tells about importance of equality in male & female.
Linga Purana: contains knowledge on Shivling, form of Shiva.
Kurma Purana: contains stories of Shiva and Vishnu.
Matsya Purana: discusses the incarnations of Vishnu.
Varaha Purana: tells about incarnations of Vishnu and Shiva.
Markandeya Purana: tells about Shiva and the female Goddess Shakti.
Devi Purana: contains stories of Durga, her stories and existence.
Skanda Purana: contains knowledge on warfares of Gods.
Vishnu Purana: contains information on Vishnu.
Narada Purana: tells about devotees of Vishnu and Vaishnava principles.
Vamana Purana: contains knowledge on forms and avatars of Vishnu.
Garuda Purana: tells about afterlife and the procedure of the life cycle.
Padma Purana: contains knowledge on Vishnu, Shiva and Shakti.
Bhavishya Purana: contains knowledge on Kalyug and future of this world.