The Vedas

THE VEDAS (1500-900 B.C.)

Brahminism (The Way of Action)

1. The Vedas (‘Veda’ is from the Sanskrit root ‘vid’ to know, hence Vedas are the books of knowledge).

2. They are said to contain all possible knowledge about man and the gods.

3. They were revealed to certain RSIS (Seers) who heard these SRUTI:

¨ Collection of Hymns called the VEDAS

¨ THE BRAHMANAS – commentaries on the hymns

¨ THE ARANYAKAS – recitations to be chanted by RSIS or celibates who lived a solitary life in the forest

¨ THE UPANISHADS – philosophical speculations on the Vedic hymns.

4. The VEDAS fall into 4 books

¨ The RG Veda – Collection of the earliest Aryan hymns.

¨ The SAMA Veda – Collection of Rg veda hymns arranged for liturgical (fixed form of public worship) purposes.

¨ The YAJUR Veda – Collection of sacrificial formulae.

¨ The ATHARVA Veda – Most recent Veda written between 800 – 500 B.C. – a collection of spells and incantations, white & Black magical formula. Yet it also contains cosmological & metaphysical (theoretical philosophy of existence & knowledge) speculation on the nature of the self.