VED

In Sanskrit the word Ved means Knowledge or Truth.

The Ved contain hymns, rituals, and mantras. There are 4 Ved's namely Rig Ved, Sam Ved, Yajur Ved and Atharv Ved.

The original text of the Ved is known as the Samhita. However the Samhitas are supplemented by many commentaries and explanations, forming the 'Shruti' as a whole.

The most developed of these commentaries, the Upanishads, engage in philosophical speculation about the implications of the ancient invocations and rituals recorded in the Samhitas. Thus the Veds are structured rather like a venerated work of classic literature supported by elaborate footnotes and introductory essays explaining its hidden complexities.

The veds carry not only spiritual revelation but more topically, scientific insights that we are just discovering with sophisticated gadgetry. The veds talk about the sun and the moon and the waters of the earth, about evaporation and rain. It talks about many things at an age, when language was said to be almost non-existent. So, the point is that, the sheer depth and vividness of the veds with a vocabulary of over 35,000 words, suggest that there was a language prevalent at that time which could not have had an ordinary origin.

The same cosmic revelation which made ancient Indians understand the mysteries of space and this lonely planet, should have given birth to the language of the veds. So, it is not a mere man-made assembly phonetics but a medium of much higher reason. The most interesting aspect of the veds is that it understood its audience.

There is one aspect of the veds which gives it the name para-vidya or mundane knowledge. In this the content is fragmented into many branches like we have now. Physics apparently is a different subject from botany. The truth is otherwise. More advanced minds can perceive that forms of knowledge could be integrated into one and attributed to one Supreme Being who comes with many names. This school of thought is called apara vidya or the medium of the supreme.

Relevance of the Veds :-

The reason why the veds are relevant even today is that they are not mere volumes of arm-chair philosophy. They are more than mere literature. The veds contain a way of life. They contain a message a path to better living culled by great sages who passed on their immense knowledge to mankind. The veds contain everything that would make life better on this planet. They explain the compatibility between man earth and the elements. They also contain answers to all human questions. There is perhaps no subject that the veds have ignored - general science, geography, medicine, astronomy, light, sound, particle, magnets, and geometry. A total constitution explains the intricacies of animal and plant life too. So it takes immensely narrow perception to regard the veds as ancient script.

Here are some reasons why the veds should mean a lot to us today :-

There is no religion in the veds. It merely reminds one of a supreme state of mind that few chosen men can achieve, and others through. This supreme state of mind is also referred as the Supreme Being. It is clear that the many deities that are worshipped today were originally manifestations of nature.
The Veds prescribe a life of high moral values that is today recognized as the best way a civilized human society can live. It asks man to live life with faith, austerity, piety, selflessness, fearlessness, dedication, generosity and peace.

The Veds tell us that a man is not an individual. In the spiritual scheme of things he is an integral part of the universe. The universe doesn't exist without him as much as he doesn't exist without the universe. From a social point of view, he is a unit of the society.

The scientific insights of the veds are astounding. Apart from explaining climatology, the veds contain data that astrophysics discovered only recently for the example the big-bang.

Stunning revelation from the rig ved :-

In the beginning, there was neither naught nor aught,

Then there was neither sky nor atmosphere above,

What then enshrouded this entire universe?

In the receptacle of what was it contained?

Then was there neither death nor immortality,

Then was neither day nor night nor light nor darkness,

Only the Existent One breathed calmly, self-contained.

One of the most remarkable insights of the veds is its estimate of the big bang. The veds put it at approximately 15 billion years. Modern science had initially put the figure at 10 billion years but following the discovery of heavenly bodies that were older than 10 billion, calculations were remarked and the figure of 15 billion years forced the scientists to revise the age of the universe.

The sound of the mother bang which created the universe, scientists say, could be reproduced using various attributes of physics and astronomy. This is called the gong. But this record is not very different from something that is already documented in the veds through the pronouncement of om omkara which is the voice of the creator. From this mother bang came sargam and there came music all known vibrations which include sound and light.

The big-bang theorists point out that today it is believed that all energy and matter was densely packed in condensed space. One day it exploded and all matter known today as the universe was formed. It is s also believed that the universe will contract and life will end. This too is mentioned in the veds. It has also predicted the end of the Sun, which scientists have confirmed. The veds have predicted this cycle of life will end 2,333,227,018 years from now, when the Sun disintegrated and dies. According to scientists this is the estimated time left for the Sun before it dies and becomes a black hole.

What we have to understand is that since the veds where formulated without the help of any equipment, we have to take one of its advices very seriously all knowledge is there in the human mind, one has to just realize it.
More modern we become, more relevant the ved's will seem to be.

The History of the Veds :-

A lot of people have heard the word Veds. Why is it so vital to the Indian soul? How has it survived the onslaught of time? The answer lies in the veds themselves. If you read the veds as a guide to conduct life, you will not question it, no matter where you are or in which time warp. Ved literally means Knowledge. Ved means To Know. There are four veds the Rig Ved, the Yajur Ved, the Sam Ved and the Atharv Ved. Centuries ago the veds were referred to as trayi meaning three. It is believed that originally there were only three veds.

The Atharv Ved, apparently, has been added later in time. Each of the veds is divided into two parts the Samhita and the Brahmans. Samhita is the incantation and Brahmans is the explanation of the incantation. It's not clear who actually composed the Veds and when. Some say that it was composed sometime during 6000 BC but no matter when it was composed, rest assured the veds are timeless today.

You will be fascinated to know that there were four layers of priest who uttered the veds during a sacrifice of yagna. The first class where the officiating priests or hotris who chanted the Rig Ved. The second class was called ugadtri who changed the Sam Ved. Then third class of priests were recites who were called adhvaryu who recited the Yajur Ved. The fourth class was overseeing priests who were called Brahmans. They chanted the Atharv Ved, which is actually addition to the original three veds.
The word trayi which is used to referred to the Rig, Yajur and Sam veds, has a special significance in that it also means that there are three paths to salvation knowledge, karma (action) and devotion. The Rig ved is the path of knowledge, the Yajur Ved is that path of karma and the Sam Ved is the path of devotion. Learned gurus tell us that it's not always in our hands to choose the path. The path, the say, chooses us.

The Rig Ved :-

The Rig Ved derives its name from the word rig which means mantra. This beautiful collection of unimaginable cosmic wisdom has 10,589 verses. There are further divided into ten mandalas or books. Each mandala is further divided into anuvakas and suktas. Anuvakas mean lessons and suktas mean hymns. On the whole there are 85 lessons and 1080 hymns. Quite an exhaustive work, isn't it, for a genius or a group of team or geniuses who chose to be anonymous. The verses in the ved are rendered to the Gods.

The importance given to the Sun in the veds is significant. Those days when most of the world believed that the Sun was a huge orange ball, the sages of India seemed to have learnt somehow that it was the Sun that the source of life. They also seem to know that light was energy. More interesting, the veds understood the connection between the Sun and the rains, and the rest of the weather pattern.

The Yajur Ved :-

Yajur Veda seeks to create a deeper level of consciousness among people. It sets forth a yogic practice that purifies not just the body, but also the mind. This helps in awakening the inner consciousness, which opens up new avenues of learning and understanding of life and existence. The Vedic scriptures are full of mantras that help in religious rituals.

The Yajur Veda also emphasizes on the same deities as the Rig Veda but in a different way. The main aim of reciting the sacred hymns is to awake the inner consciousness and bring together the cosmic energies within oneself. This opens up avenues for recreating a universal energy within the human psyche. This cosmic level of consciousness is very necessary in order to lead a life that is both meaningful and satisfying. Once ego and other vices are surrendered to the Divine force, a person can attain higher forms of happiness.

Yajur ved has 101 branches. Like the Rig Ved, the Yajur Ved too has two divisions. Samhita which is incantation and adhvaryu which is the explanation of the same. Interestingly most of the poetic component of the Yajur Ved derives a lot from the hymns of the Rig Ved. The remaining is in prose.

The Yajur Ved gets its name from the word yaj which means sacrifice. While we may never find out who composed the veds, it's said that sage Ved Vyas taught the four veds to four of his disciples. Paila was taught the Rig Ved. Sam Ved to Jaimini and the Atharv Ved to Sumantu.

The Yajur Ved was taught to Vaishampayana. He in turn taught the Yajur Ved to twenty seven pupils and over the years the ved branched off into Three schools Taittiriya, Krishna Yajur Ved, and Shukla (white) Yajur Ved. The Gods who feature in the Veds are many. The three major Gods are Agni, Indra and Surya. But there are many other gods who are manifestations of the various aspects of nature but, if you have a modern mindset, you may identify what some sages believed. They said that the supreme force was broken into various cosmic fragments for human understanding.

The Yajur Ved reminds you that if you are not destined to rule their own lives through knowledge, karma is another way that will lead you to the goal. The trick is to accept that there is a scheme of things at play. This scheme of things is also called life. Everything, every event has been planned before and every event has a bearing on the other.

The Sam Ved :-

Like the other veds the Sam Ved too has two portions incantation and explanation. The incantation portion in the Sam Ved is about half as long as the Rig Ved. Like the Yajur Ved, the Sam Ved too borrows heavily from the Rig Ved. You may begin to feel that the Rig Ved is the mother of all Veds. It's almost true but the fact is that the other Veds capture simpler moods of existence. Sam Ved is the path to salvation through devotion, perhaps the most popular approach of Man at any given point in time.

The Sam Ved derives its name from the word Sam or hymn. This ved is full of hymns naturally the best tool of blind devotion. What's interesting to note is that in all religions, across the globe, devotion is best expressed through songs. There is a school of thought that suggests that a vast majority of people cannot comprehend the Supreme Being through knowledge or a fervent sense of destiny. The world is materialistic it always was Music some how unites the material world with a higher plane. That is why hymns like in Sam Ved are so significant. For the overwhelming majority who are limited by intellect, hymns bring them closer to the maker. Having learnt that, we should know that Sam Ved is not purely songs. It has its share of monotonous chants.

Though there is a theory that suggests that the Sam Ved, over the centuries, was divided into thousand different branches, records show only thirteen branches. Of the thirteen, the physical evidence of only three branches is now available. We should understand that while some people documented the veds, it was originally transferred from mouth to ear.

Therefore it should be surprising that a huge chunk of the veds are actually lost today. The three branches that have survived to grace us today are Ranayana, Kuthuma and Jaimini. Sadly only these three branches pass off as Sam Ved today. They contain between them 1875 mantras nearly by 184 seers which is set to tune of music by 285 seers. About 4000 hymns are based around these mantras.

These are further divided into two categories purvarchika which contains 650 mantras and uttarachika which contains 1225 mantras. In purvarchika, each mantra is divided into chapters but in uttarchika the mantras are not divided into chapters. But the entire collection of 1225 mantras are categorized as chapters. The reason of this is not known but some say there may be a hidden significance that is lost on us.

What's interesting to note is that while most of the verses in the Rig Ved and the Yajur Ved run deep in philosophical content, the mantras in the Sam Ved are mere prayers. They presume that God is a physical entity who has to be believed in and prayed to.

The veds remind one of the most unique natures of what is called Hinduism. While most religions are one-dimensional in the sense that they teach devotion, the veds addresses different kinds of people on basis of their intellectual growth.

The Atharv Ved :-

It's widely believed that the originally there were only three veds and that the Atharv Ved was added later. The Atharv Ved is distinctly different from the other three. While the Rig, Yajur and Sam veds derive their names from the nature of their contents, the Atharv ved gets its name from a man called Atharvn.

In the Rig Ved there are references to Atharvn. He is said to be the first man to have found Agni or fire when he rubbed two sticks together. Meanwhile, there were two ancient families called Angiras and Bhrigu. It's said that the Atharv Ved was first revealed by the gods to Atharvn, Angiras and Bhrigu. This ved's role during a sacrifice or a yagna is to chant mantras to invoke fire to drive away evil forces. The Atharv Ved is also called the Brahma Ved. This is because was chanted by the fourth layer of priests who were called Brahmans.

While the other three veds are chiefly fervent chants, the Atharv Ved seemed too interactive. It contains charms and spells which could make an immediate difference in the physical world.

The Atharv ved contains some 750 hymns and 6000 verses. There are twenty books in this ved. The first thirteen contain a haphazard mixture of prayers, charms, spells and invocations. The fourteenth book is about marriages. The fifteenth is about wandering beggars. The sixteenth and the seventeenth are about magic and conjuring. The eighteenth is about funeral rites. The nineteenth is a mixture of songs with no perceivable categorization. The twentieth book contains chants to lord Indira, taken almost entirely from the Rig Ved.

Here is a typical hymn from the Atharv Ved. It's a spell and invokes the spiritual forces to bring about destruction to the enemies.

May the enemies who try to pierce us with their weapons not be able to reach us. May the enemies who try to attack us from the four directions not be able to reach us. O Indra, may the shower of arrows not be able to reach us. May arrows which have already been shot not be able to reach us. May arrows which have not yet been shot but will be, not be able to reach us. These are the divine words which will destroy our enemies.

It can be said that, to a great extend, the Atharv Ved is man's own device. He uses his spiritual knowledge to make his own world a better place to live.