Vedas

rig veda

agni

The Vedas [vey-duhs] (Sanskrit for ‘knowledge’) are a large body of texts originating in ancient India, which constitute the oldest Sanskrit literature (1500–1000 BCE) and the oldest scriptures of Hinduism. The texts are aggregated around the four canonical Vedas:.Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda, and Atharva Veda. Together they make up a sacred collection of hymns, incantations, and liturgical rites. The Atharva Veda is less predominant than other Vedas and is little used in solemn ritual. According to Hindu tradition, the Vedas are, ‘not of human agency.’ 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 them as their scriptural authority are classified as orthodox. Other traditions, notably Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism, which did not regard the Vedas as authorities are referred to by traditional Hindu texts as heterodox schools.

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