Vedas had a great influence on ancient Indian society and these Vedas became a crucial part in forming the Hindu dharma. Though the knowledge of Vedas was passed orally thousands of years ago, It is estimated that Vedas were composed in Sanskrit around 1500 and 1000 B.C. and around 300 B.C., the Vedas took the current form.
There are four major Vedas: Rig, Sama, Yajur, and Atharva.
Rig Veda Facts
- There are 1028 mantras (or hymns) in Rig Veda which are prayers to God and the ‘Pancha Bhutani’ – the five forces: earth (Prithvi), water (jalam), wind (Vayu), fire (Agni) and sky (Akash).
- In Rig Veda, all the mantras are organized into ten books known as mandalas or circles.
- According to scholars and sages, Rig Veda is one of the oldest and perplexing literature ever written.
- Rig Veda consists of the explanation to the origin of the world, the power of Gods and the art of living.
- The mantras are chanted to God to praise their power and asking to share their power to us so that we can battle the evil, both inside and outside of us.
Sama Veda Facts
- Sama Veda is similar to Rig Veda in that it consists of the same meaning and content, but it is written to form the set to music. Thus, Sama Veda is known as the Veda of Melodies or Chants.
- Sama Veda is said to have been written around 1000 BC and some parts in the Sama Veda are said to be dated during 1700 BC.
- Among the four Vedas, Sama Veda is the shortest Veda. There are 1875 verses in Sama, and among them, 1771 verses are from Rig Veda. The remaining 99 verses are its own.
- As the Veda of Melodies, it is considered to be the oldest music organization in the world that contains all types of music, metre, mantra, chhanda, and linguistics.
- The Sama Veda was compiled so that it could sing the ceremonies of “soma-sacrifices”, which is a ritual where chopped vegetables or animals are sacrificed and offered to Gods. Udgatar priests used to sing them and it reflected their worldview.
Yajur Veda Facts
- Yajur Veda informs about the religious rituals. It is said to be a step-by-step guide to explain the right way of performing religious ceremonies and rituals. However, some claim that it never talks about the right way, but instead guides people to think about the rituals.
- Thus, when one digs deeper into the Yajur Veda, one can find a deeper meaning than just the rituals.
- Compared to Rig Veda, Yajur Veda has simpler language.
- Among the four Vedas, Yajur Veda was the most used Vedic scripture by the ancient priests.
- Yajur Veda attempts to develop the level of consciousness among people and is linked to the yogic practice of purifying the mind, body, and soul. It can help people to awaken the consciousness within and open to the study of life in a better manner.
Atharva Veda Facts
- Atharva Veda stands out among the other Vedas as it is the most diverse in nature compared to the other three.
- Classical Atharva Veda is related to religion and socio-cultural aspects of society and provides knowledge about the same.
- Atharva Veda is related to the cult of occult science and the opposite side of science – the ones related to death, spirits, and the afterlife.
- Scholars disregard Atharva Veda as part of the Vedas.
- A common belief is that if a pregnant woman attends a ritual where the Atharva Veda is chanted, then the power of Atharva Veda can lead to the death of the fetus inside the pregnant woman.