The Vedas are the earliest Indian scriptures written in Sanskrit consisting of the 4 main parts:

  1. Rig Veda – ऋग्वेद
  2. Sama Veda – सामवेद
  3. Yajur Veda – यजुर्वेद
  4. Atharva Veda – अथर्ववेद

aand Upa Vedas, the 4 lesser-known parts:

  1. Dhanur Veda – धनुर्वेद
  2. Gandharva Veda – गंधर्ववेद
  3. Sthapatya Veda – स्थापत्यवेद / Shilpa Veda – शिल्पवेद
  4. Ayur Veda – आयुर्वेद

The word Veda (वेद) comes from the root word Ved meaning “to know” or “to be” or “to obtain”. They are guidelines for living life to the fullest potential. They are believed to be Aparusheya (अपौरुषेय) meaning “not of human origin”.

The Vedas have been passed orally from generation to generation for thousands of years via recitals. They had been revealed to the Rishis (ऋषि) the Hindu Sages / Saints in the ancient times as Shrutis (श्रुति) which mean “that which is heard”.

In later periods the Vedas got written down. Most of them however got destroyed by the outside invaders of India – Moguls and British.

The Vedas are the foundation of the Vedic Religion and formed the basis of the Classical Hinduism. In the Indian Philosophical System, the Shad Darshans (षड्दर्शन) of:

  1. Yoga – योग
  2. Vedanta – वेदांत
  3. Vaisheshika – वैशेषिक
  4. Mimansa – मीमांसा
  5. Nyay – न्याय
  6. Samkhya – संख्या

have roots in Vedas and give authority to its teachings.

The six supplementary disciplines of Classical Hinduism that developed in ancient times from the study of the Vedas are called Vedangas (वेदअङ्ग). Anga (अङ्ग) meaning limb, so they are also called as the 6 limbs:

  1. Shiksha – शिक्षा (Phonics)
  2. Vyakrana – व्याकरण (Etymology)
  3. Nirukta – निरुक्त (Grammar)
  4. Chanda – चंदा (Poetic Metre)
  5. Kalpa – कल्प (Rituals)
  6. Jyotish – ज्योतिष (Astrology)

The Vedas can be classified into 4 types:

  1. Samhitas – संहिता (Mantras)
  2. Brahmanas – ब्राह्मण (Rituals)
  3. Aranyakas – आरण्यक (Forest Treaties)
  4. Upanishads – उपनिषद / Vedanta – वेदांत (End of Vedas)

Each of the 4 Vedas (Rig, Sama, Yajur, Atharva) consists of such 4 types.

Samhitas and Brahmanas are related to DOING, whereas Aranyakas and Upanishads to REALISING.

How Can Vedas Improve Your Life?

In the same way as you have a guidebook to visit a country or a manual to understand how to use a devise, you also have ancient scriptures that describe how the human body, mind & soul “work”. In the Vedas you can find answer to any question related to metaphysics, morality and deriving fullest potential from life.

Questions that you ask yourself about your existence, its meaning, its purpose as well as how the best way to do your things, are the universal questions that humans have always been asking themselves. Higher evolved beings have left the answers, instructions and teachings for the humans to learn from and evolve faster.

Purusharthas (पुरुषार्थ), the purpose of life could be considered as the essence of the Vedic teachings:

  1. Dharma – धर्म (Duty)
  2. Artha – अर्थ (Earning)
  3. Kama – काम (Pleasure)
  4. Moksha – मोक्ष (Understanding of the Highest Reality)

Keeping balance between these 4 basic aims of a human assures long-term satisfaction and fulfilment in life.

Aum Shanti Shanti Shantihi ( ॐ शांति शांति शांतिही )

Aum Peace for Your Body, Peace for Your Mind, and Peace for Your Spirit

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