INTRODUCTION TO VEDA
Veda is abundant source of knowledge. It is considered as the
basic scripture of Hinduism. The word Veda is derived from the Sanskrit root 'vid', which means 'to
know'. It is said that God created the knowledge in a unique form called 'Veda'.
As it was not created by any purusha or man, it is called APAURUSHEYA.
Later the great sage Vyaasa, who
compiled eighteen puraanaas and wrote Mahabharatha, classified Veda as Rig
Veda, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda and Adharva(na) Veda. It is difficult to understand the vast Veda unless
somebody has the power and blessings like Vyaasa and we know howmany of us have them. However, the grate
sage could foresee this and classified veda into four in order to make it is for the coming
generations to understand and follow them. In the ancient tradition of Gurukul, gurus
taught vedas to their disciples by means of chanting and the disciples
learnt them by listening. That is why the vedas were called as 'SHRUTHIS'.
Vyasa taught Rig Veda to Paila, Yajur
Veda to Vaishyampayana, Sama Veda to Jaimini and Adharvana
Veda to Sumanta. Paila,
Vaishayampayana, Jaimini and Sumanta were Vyasa's disciples.
Veda Murtis Representing vedas
Rig Veda has the hymns, praising the virtues of Gods.
Yajur Veda prescribes the ways and means of conducting Yagnas, which are
performed with various objectives.
Sama Veda describes the way to please the Gods through
Veda deals with a number
of worldly things and spiritual knowledge.
Veda proposes Brahma or Paramaatman, Atman and the
unification of Paramaatman and Atman.
For easier comprehension of Veda, Maharshis have further classified the Veda into Mantra and Brahmana.
Samhita is the name given to the
collection of the Mantras. The Brahmana includes in itself two more sections, the Aranyaka
and the Upanishad. If the Mantras comprise the hymns, the Brahmanas contain liturgies in
prose. The Aranyakas teach about meditations based on symolical interpretations of the
liturgiecal rites. The Upanishad may roughly be classified as philosophical treatises
dealing with the ultimate problems of life. The archaic form of Veda was rather difficult
to understand necessitating further classification. The six Vedaangas,
six subsidiary sciences that help unfold the Vedic wisdom, came into existence. They are-Siksha,
Vyaakarana, Chandas, Nirukta, Jyotisha
Siksha deals with the details of the metres of Vedic poetry. Nirukta gives the meanings
and explanations of Vedic words. Jyotisha though a work of astronomy is more directly
concerned with the times and periods suitable for the performance of the Vedic sacrifices.
Kalpa in the form of sutras or aphorisms, has four branches namely Shrauta, Grihya, Dharma
and Sulba. It deals with all aspects of sacrificial rites and smaller religious rites
performed at home. In understanding the Vedic literature, Bhashyas or commentaries have
played a key role. There have been a galaxy of commentators over the centuries, among whom
Saayanaacharya (belonging to 14th century) holds a unique place, not only because of the
volume of his work but also because of the quality.
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