History: Vedic Age

Topics: Vedas / Pages: 27 (6540 words) / Published: Sep 19th, 2013
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"Veda" redirects here. For other uses, see Veda (disambiguation).
The Vedas (Sanskrit वेदाः véda, "knowledge") are a large body of texts originating in ancient India. Composed in Vedic Sanskrit, the texts constitute the oldest layer ofSanskrit literature and the oldest scriptures of Hinduism.[1][2] The Vedas are apauruṣeya ("not of human agency").[3][4][5] They are supposed to have been directly revealed, and thus are called śruti ("what is heard"),[6][7] distinguishing them from other religious texts, which are called smṛti ("what is remembered").
The Vedic texts or śruti are organized around four canonical collections of metrical material known as Saṃhitās, of which the first three are related to the performance of yajna (sacrifice) in historical Vedic religion: 1. The Rigveda, containing hymns to be recited by the hotṛ; 2. The Yajurveda, containing formulas to be recited by the adhvaryu or officiating priest; 3. The Samaveda, containing formulas to be sung by the udgātṛ. 4. The fourth is the Atharvaveda, a collection of spells and incantations, apotropaic charms and speculative hymns.[8]
The individual verses contained in these compilations are known as mantras. Some selected Vedic mantras are still recited at prayers, religious functions and other auspicious occasions in contemporary Hinduism.
The various Indian philosophies and sects have taken differing positions on the Vedas. Schools of Indian philosophy which cite the Vedas as their scriptural authority are classified as "orthodox" (āstika). Other traditions, notably Buddhism and Jainism, which did not regard the Vedas as authorities are referred to by traditional Hindu texts as "heterodox" or "non-orthodox" (nāstika) schools.[9][10] In addition to Buddhism and Jainism, Sikhism[11][12] and Brahmoism,[13] many non-Brahmin Hindus in South India [14] do not accept the authority of the Vedas. Certain South Indian Brahmin communities such as Iyengars

References: * Apte, Vaman Shivram (1965), The Practical Sanskrit Dictionary (4th revised & enlarged ed.), Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 81-208-0567-4. * Avari, Burjor (2007), India: The Ancient Past, London: Routledge, ISBN 978-0-415-35616-9 * Flood, Gavin (1996), An Introduction to Hinduism, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-43878-0 * Flood, Gavin, ed. (2003), The Blackwell Companion to Hinduism, Malden, MA: Blackwell, ISBN 1-4051-3251-5 * Holdrege, Barbara A * MacDonell, Arthur Anthony (2004), A History of Sanskrit Literature, Kessinger Publishing, ISBN 1-4179-0619-7 * Michaels, Axel (2004), Hinduism: Past and Present, Princeton University Press, ISBN 0-691-08953-1 * Monier-Williams, Monier, ed. (2006), Monier-Williams Sanskrit Dictionary, Nataraj Books, ISBN 1-881338-58-4. * Muir, John (1861), Original Sanskrit Texts on the Origin and Progress of the Religion and Institutions of India, Williams and Norgate * Müller, Max (1891), Chips from a German Workshop, New York: C * Radhakrishnan, Sarvepalli; Moore, Charles A., eds. (1957), A Sourcebook in Indian Philosophy (12th Princeton Paperback ed.), Princeton University Press, ISBN 0-691-01958-4. * Smith, Brian K., Canonical Authority and Social Classification: Veda and "Varṇa" in Ancient Indian Texts-, History of Religions, The University of Chicago Press (1992), 103-125. * Sullivan, B. M. (Summer 1994), "The Religious Authority of the Mahabharata: Vyasa and Brahma in the Hindu Scriptural Tradition", Journal of the American Academy of Religion 62 (1): 377–401,DOI:10.1093/jaarel/LXII.2.377. * Witzel, Michael (ed.) (1997), Inside the Texts, Beyond the Texts. New Approaches to the Study of the Vedas, Harvard Oriental Series, Opera Minora vol. 2, Cambridge: Harvard University Press * Zaehner, R * J. Gonda, Vedic Literature: Saṃhitās and Brāhmaṇas, A History of Indian literature. Vol. 1, Veda and Upanishads (1975), ISBN 978-3-447-01603-2. * J. A. Santucci, An Outline of Vedic Literature (1976). * S. Shrava, A Comprehensive History of Vedic Literature — Brahmana and Aranyaka Works, Pranava Prakashan (1977). * Vishva Bandhu, Bhim Dev, S. Bhaskaran Nair (eds.), Vaidika-Padānukrama-Koṣa: A Vedic Word-Concordance, Vishveshvaranand Vedic Research Institute, Hoshiarpur, 1963–1965, revised edition 1973-1976.

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