Four Vedas, the primary literature of Hindu
Religion. The Four Vedas, the primary literature of Hindu
Religion are as below:
Rg-Veda The heart of the entire Veda with
10,552 verses. Rg-Veda Interpretation(Poorna Pragnya).
Yajur-Veda (hymns for oblations)apr. 2000
Sama-Veda (same prayers and hymns in meters
for singing)apr. 2000 verses
Atharva-Veda (body/world mainte nance and
destruction).Nearly 6,000 verses of prayers, charms and rites are
Besides its Samhita, each Veda includes one or two
Brahmanas, ceremonial handbooks, and Aranyakas, ritual
interpretations, plus many inestimable Upanishads, metaphysical
dialogs. In all there are over 100,000 Vedic verses, and some
prose, in dozens of texts.
The Vedangas and Upavedas are collections of
texts that augment and apply the Vedas as a comprehensive system
of sacred living.
Jyotisha Vedanga delineates auspicious
timing for holy rites. look at astrology and Jai Maharaj's
Kalpa Vedanga defines public rituals in the
Srauta and Sulba sutras, domestic rites in the Grihya Sutras and
religious law in the Dharma Sastras.
Four other Vedangas ensure the purity of mantra
recitation, through knowledge of phonetics, grammar, poetry and
the way of words.
The Upavedas expound profound sciences:
Artha-Veda unfolds statecraft Ayur-Veda sets forth
medicine and health Dhanur-Veda discusses military science
Gandharva-Veda illumines music and the arts
Sthapatya-Veda explains architecture
In addition, the Kama Sutras detail erotic
pleasures. The Agamas, too, have ancillary texts, such as the
Upagamas and Paddhatis, which elaborate the ancient wisdom.
The Epics maybe the Mahabharata and Ramayana as the two
Additional Overviews: What is Vedic Literature
Spiritual Origin of Vedas
The following are some lessons explaining the
different branches of the tree of Vedic knowledge (Vedas,
Upanisads, Vedangas, Darsanas, Bhashyas, Puranas, Itihasas,
Veda means knowledge. The original knowledge are
the teachings of the Vedas. In the conditioned state our
knowledge is subjected to many deficiencies. There are four
defects that a conditioned soul has: committing mistakes, subject
to illusion, cheating propensity and imperfect senses. These
deficiencies make us unfit for having perfect knowledge.
Therefore we accept the Vedas as they are.
Vedas are apauruseya, which means they are not
compilations of human knowledge. Vedic knowledge comes from the
spiritual world, from Lord the Supreme Personality.
The human are divided by vedas according to their
orders of life namely brahmacarya, grhastha,vanaprastha and
sannyasa and vedas teach us how a soul could be purified. To
simplify the process and make them more easily performable,
Vyasadeva (the empowered incarnation of Krsna) divided the Vedas
into four, Rg (prayers), Yajur (hymns for oblations), Sama (same
prayers and hymns in meters for singing), Atharva (body/world
maintenance and destruction) in order to expand them among
Thus the original source of knowledge is the Vedas.
They have simply been developed into different branches. They
were originally rendered by great seers. In other words, the
Vedic knowledge broken into different branches by different
disciplic successions (known as sakhas) has been distributed all
over the world. No one, therefore, can claim independent
knowledge beyond the Vedas.
The texts of the Vedas are known as Samhitas.
Within these Samhitas there are portions known as Mantras, which
contain prayers in the form of potent sound compounds revealed to
great seers for different purposes. In the Vedic civilization
three orders of life lived in the forests. Only grhasthas
inhabited the cities. The regulated knowledge for living in the
city, is revealed in the books known as Brahmanas, whereas the
regulated knowledge for living in the forest is revealed in the
books known as Aranyakas.
Sruti, Smrti, and Nyaya
There are three different sources of vedic
knowledge, called prasthana-traya. The Upanisads are known as
sruti-prasthana, the scriptures following the principles of six
limbs vedic knowledge (Vedangas) as well as Mahabharata,
Bhagavad-gita, and Puranas are known as smrti- prasthana and
Vedanta-sutras which present the vedic knowledge on the basis of
logic and arguments is known as nyaya-prasthana. All scientific
knowledge of transcendence must be supported by sruti, smrti and
a sound logical basis (nyaya ). Smrti and nyaya always confirm
that which is said in the sruti.
Vedic injunctions are known as sruti. From the
original Veda Samhitas up to the Upanisads are classified as
sruti. The additional supplementary presentations of these
principles as given by the great sages are known as smrti. They
are considered as evidence for vedic principles. Understanding
the ultimate goal of life is ascertained in the Vedanta-sutras by
legitimate logic and argument concerning cause and effect.
There are six aspects of knowledge in the Vedas
known as Vedangas:
Siksa - phonetic science
Vyakarana - grammar
Nirukti - context (conclusive meaning)
Candas - meter
Jyotis - time science (astronomy & astrology)
Kalpa - rituals
The seers who have realized these aspects of
knowledge from the Vedas, have composed sutras (short but potent
phrases which convey a lot of meanings) on each Vedanga.
Kalpa-sutras are of four categories, viz., srouta (collective
sacrifices), grhya (family rituals), dharma (occupational duties)
and sulba (building of sacrificial fireplaces, altars etc.).
According to the different levels of conditioned
consciousness there are instructions in the Vedas for worship of
different controllers, with the aim of reaching different
destinations and enjoying different standards of sense enjoyment.
Agamas (emanated scriptures) are books which are classified into
five for this purpose:
energy - Sakti - Sakta Agamas
visible source (Sun) - Surya - Soura Agamas
controller - Ganapati - Ganapatya Agamas
destroyer - Siva - Saiva Agamas
ultimate source - Visnu - Vaikhanasa Agamas
For those who are below standard for vedic
purificatory process, there are Tantra sastras. These have two
general classifications, right and left. While the right aspect
contains regulations for purification for those who are grossly
engaged in meat eating, intoxication and illicit sex, the left
aspect contains low class activities like black magic etc.
From the point of view of common human activities
sense gratification is the basis of material life. To cater to
this aim, there are three paths mentioned in the Vedas:
The karma-kanda path involves fruitive activities
to gain promotion to better positions. Using the methodology from
the first five Vedangas, the Kalpa-sutras explain this path.
Upasana-kanda involves worshiping different
controllers for promotion to their positions. The Agamas explain
Jnana-kanda involves realizing the Absolute truth
in impersonal feature for the purpose of becoming one .
The Upanisads explain this path.
Though these paths are all from the Vedas, and the
Vedas do explain them, one should not think that that is all the
Vedas have. The real purpose of the Vedas is to gradually push
one in the path of self realization to the point of surrender in
devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Upanisads and Darsanas
(Vedanta and six systems of philosophy)
The Upanishads are the concluding portions of the
Brahmanas and are enshrining the essense of Vedic teaching. They
are called Vedantas meaning the last portion of the Vedas as well
as the ultimate conclusions of Vedic wisdom. Upanishads happen to
be the most foremost authorities of the Vedanta system of
Philosophy that developed in later times in different forms. The
Vedanta Sutras of Badarayana pertain to the proper interpretation
of these Upanishadic statements.
The highest knowledge of the Ultimate Truth is
taught in the Upanishads and these are considered as the eternal,
most authoritative, infalliable revelations and most all schools
of Indian Philosophy have drawn richly from the Upanishads in
some way or the other.
These Upanishads are in the form of sublime
thoughts tauhgt by celebrated teachers to their intimate
disciples. Some of them are in the form of dialogues and they
picture the struggle for the quest after Brahman by the devoted
one as well as their failures and successes. If some Upanishads
give a connected account, some others appear ti be stray
thoughts. They have a mysterious forcefulness in their
expressions and they penetrate to the heart. Some of them are
very simple and short but at the same time very significant.
These truths were intended to be imparted in strictest secrecy to
the earnest enquirers of the truth. They have a charm and
attraction of their own for earnest religious people.
The number of Upanishads that are available to us
is vast. They are said to be more than two hundred. One hunderd
and twelve Upanishads have been published by the Nirnaya Sagar
Press in 1917. The Muktika Upanishad gives a list of 108
Upanishads. But all these are not recognized as ancient. Many of
them belong to a later time. It is accepted that all the ten
principal Upanishads namely Isa, Kena, Katha, Prasna, Mundaka,
Mandukya, Taittiriya, Aitareya, Chandogya and Brihadaranyaka are
the most authoritative ancient Upanishads. In addition to these
the Kaushitaki, Svetasvatara, Mahanarayaniya and Maitrayaniya are
also taken into account as they have been referred to by many
early authorities. These belong to the different Vedas as shown
Rig Veda 1. Aitareya Upanishad 2. Kaushitaki
Upanishad Sama Veda 1. Kena Upanishad 2. Chandogya Upanishad
Krishna Yajur Veda 1. Katha Upanishad 2. Svetasvatara Upanishad
3. Maitrayaniya Upanishad 4. Mahanarayaniya Upanishad 5.
Taittiriya Upanishad Sukla Yajur Veda 1. Isavasya Upanishad 2.
Brihadaranyaka Upanishad Atharva Veda 1. Mundaka Upanishad 2.
Mandukya Upanishad 3. Prasna Upanishad
Upanisad means receiving knowledge while sitting
near the teacher. These are conversations between self realized
souls and their students on the subject matter of Absolute truth.
The philosophical aspects of all the important processes and
practices of knowledge (known as vidyas) that are given in the
Vedas are discussed in the Upanisads. Veda means knowledge and
anta means end. Upanisads are known as Vedanta, end of
In the Upanisads the description is more or less
negation of the material conception of everything, up to the
Supreme Lord. It is very important to note that there is no
denial of the spiritual, absolute, transcendental conception in
the Upanisads. The purpose of the Upanisads is to philosophically
establish the personal feature of the Absolute Truth as
transcendental to material names, forms, qualities and
There are 108 Upanisads, as accepted by disciplic
succession. Among them the following are considered as
1) Isa 2) Kena 3) katha 4) Prasna 5) Mundaka 6)
Mandukya 7) Taittiriya
8) Aitareya 9) Chandogya 10) Brhad-aranyaka 11) Svetasvatara
Darsana means, sight or vision. In the Vedanta
philosophy, the first question is, what is the source of
everything? There are philosophers who saw different stages of
the original source, and explained philosophy according to their
vision. These are known as darsanas. They are also known as
sad-darsanas (six systems of philosophy).
The six philosophical treatises are:
Nyaya propounded by Gautama
Vaisesika propounded by Kanada
Sankhya propounded by Kapila
Yoga propounded by Patanjali
Purva (karma) Mimamsa propounded by Jaimini
Uttara (brahma) Mimamsa propounded by Vyasa
Nyaya, the philosophy of logic, maintains
that the atom is the cause of the cosmic manifestation.
Vaisesika, philosophy of specialised logic,
maintains that the combination of atoms is the cause of the
Sankhya, philosophy of analytical study,
maintains that the material nature is the cause of the cosmic
Yoga, philosophy of mystic perfections,
maintains that universal consciousness is the cause of the cosmic
Purva (karma) mimamsa, philosophy of actions
and reactions, maintains that fruitive activities are the cause
of the cosmic manifestation.
Uttara (brahma) mimamsa has two different
The impersonalists maintain that the impersonal
Brahman effulgence is the cause of the cosmic manifestation.
After studying the six philosophical theses,
Vyasadeva completely summarized them all in his Vedanta-sutra
darsana: The Absolute Truth is the Supreme Personality of
Godhead, who is the cause of all causes.
Srila Vyasadeva wrote the Vedanta-sutras and taking
the essence of all vedic literature, established the supremacy of
the Supreme Personality of Godhead.