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Vedic Literature

Mukherjee notes that the Rigveda, and Sayana's commentary, contain passages criticizing as fruitless mere recitation of the Ŗik (words) without understanding their inner meaning or essence, the knowledge of dharma and Parabrahman.[122] Mukherjee concludes that in the Rigvedic education of the mantras "the contemplation and comprehension of their meaning was considered as more important and vital to education than their mere mechanical repetition and correct pronunciation."[123] Mookei refers to Sayana as stating that "the mastery of texts, akshara-praptī, is followed by artha-bodha, perception of their meaning."[87][note 12] Mukherjee explains that the Vedic knowledge was first perceived by the rishis and munis. Only the perfect language of the Vedas, as in contrast to ordinary speech, can reveal these truths, which were preserved by committing them to memory.[125] According to Mukherjee, while these truths are imparted to the student by the memorized texts,[126] "the realization of Truth" and the knowledge of paramatman as revealed to the rishis is the real aim of Vedic learning, and not the mere recitation of texts.[127] The supreme knowledge of the Absolute, para Brahman-jnana, the knowledge of rta and satya, can be obtained by taking vows of silence and obedience[128] sense-restraint, dhyana, the practice of tapas (austerities),[113] and discussing the Vedanta.[128][note 21]

vedic literature

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The Rigveda Samhita is the oldest extant Indic text.[146] It is a collection of 1,028 Vedic Sanskrit hymns and 10,600 verses in all, organized into ten books (Sanskrit: mandalas).[147] The hymns are dedicated to Rigvedic deities.[148]

The books were composed by poets from different priestly groups over a period of several centuries between c. 1500 and 1200 BCE,[note 1] (the early Vedic period) in the Punjab (Sapta Sindhu) region of the northwest Indian subcontinent. According to Michael Witzel, the initial codification of the Rigveda took place at the end of the Rigvedic period at ca. 1200 BCE, in the early Kuru kingdom.[149]

The Samaveda Samhita[154] consists of 1549 stanzas, taken almost entirely (except for 75 mantras) from the Rigveda.[43][155] While its earliest parts are believed to date from as early as the Rigvedic period, the existing compilation dates from the post-Rigvedic Mantra period of Vedic Sanskrit, between c. 1200 and 1000 BCE or "slightly later," roughly contemporary with the Atharvaveda and the Yajurveda.[155]

In the Samaveda, some of the Rigvedic verses are repeated.[156] Including repetitions, there are a total of 1875 verses numbered in the Samaveda recension translated by Griffith.[157] Two major recensions have survived, the Kauthuma/Ranayaniya and the Jaiminiya. Its purpose was liturgical, and they were the repertoire of the udgātṛ or "singer" priests.[158]

The Vedangas developed towards the end of the vedic period, around or after the middle of the 1st millennium BCE. These auxiliary fields of Vedic studies emerged because the language of the Vedas,[196] composed centuries earlier, became too archaic to the people of that time.[197] The Vedangas were sciences that focused on helping understand and interpret the Vedas that had been composed many centuries earlier.[197]

Pariśiṣṭa "supplement, appendix" is the term applied to various ancillary works of Vedic literature, dealing mainly with details of ritual and elaborations of the texts logically and chronologically prior to them: the Samhitas, Brahmanas, Aranyakas and Sutras. Naturally classified with the Veda to which each pertains, Parisista works exist for each of the four Vedas. However, only the literature associated with the Atharvaveda is extensive.

The term upaveda ("applied knowledge") is used in traditional literature to designate the subjects of certain technical works.[206][207] Lists of what subjects are included in this class differ among sources.The Charanavyuha mentions four Upavedas:[208]

Let drama and dance (Nātya, नट्य) be the fifth vedic scripture. Combined with an epic story, tending to virtue, wealth, joy and spiritual freedom, it must contain the significance of every scripture, and forward every art. Thus, from all the Vedas, Brahma framed the Nātya Veda. From the Rig Veda he drew forth the words, from the Sama Veda the melody, from the Yajur Veda gesture, and from the Atharva Veda the sentiment.

The Puranas is a vast genre of encyclopedic Indian literature about a wide range of topics particularly myths, legends and other traditional lore.[217] Several of these texts are named after major Hindu deities such as Vishnu, Shiva and Devi.[218][219] There are 18 Maha Puranas (Great Puranas) and 18 Upa Puranas (Minor Puranas), with over 400,000 verses.[217]

The Puranas have been influential in the Hindu culture.[220][221] They are considered Vaidika (congruent with Vedic literature).[222] The Bhagavata Purana has been among the most celebrated and popular text in the Puranic genre, and is of non-dualistic tenor.[223][224] The Puranic literature wove with the Bhakti movement in India, and both Dvaita and Advaita scholars have commented on the underlying Vedanta themes in the Maha Puranas.[225]

The Vedic literature constitutes the fulcrum of Sanskrit literature and is repositories of some fundamental concepts of human rights. This manuscript endeavors to decode the tenets of human rights concealed in the Vedic texts. It further endeavors to view a connection between archaic Vedic literature and human rights and approaches the subject of human rights from the perspectives of Vedic texts. As an articulated concept, human rights have distinct western inception though the elements that constitute the concept postulate different cultural forms and are found in sundry civilizations of which one is Vedic civilization. The Vedic rights are certainly not akin to modern-day human rights but then it would not be feasible to expect much from the texts that are approximately 3500 to 4000 years old. Though the Vedic literature vividly resonates with some rudimentary conceptions of human rights, the relationship between Vedic literature and human rights is not entirely smooth and tension free. This manuscript withal fixates on the incongruities subsisting between Vedic literature and human rights.

The Vedas are the large bodies of religious text that is composed of Vedic Sanskrit and originated in ancient India. They form the oldest scriptures of Hinduism and the oldest layer of Sanskrit literature. The Vedas are said to have passed on through verbal transmission from one generation to the next. Therefore, they are also known as Shruti. The Vedic literature consists of four Vedas, namely: Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda, and Atharva Veda. The mantra text of each of the Vedas is called Samhita.

They are the prose texts that explain the hymns in the Vedas and are also the classification of Sanskrit texts that are embedded within each Veda, incorporating myths and legends to explain and instruct Brahmins on the performance of Vedic rituals. In addition to explaining the symbolism and meaning of the Samhitas, Brahmana literature also expounds scientific knowledge of the Vedic Period, including observational astronomy and, particularly in relation to altar construction, geometry. Divergent in nature, some Brahmanas also contain mystical and philosophical material that constitutes Aranyakas and Upanishads.

The Vedas are said to have been passed on from one generation to the next through verbal transmission and are, therefore, also known as Shruti (to hear) or revelation. The term Vedic literature means the four Vedas in their Samhita and the allied literature based on or derived from the Vedas. We classify the Vedic literature into the following categories:

Atharva-Veda is entirely different from the other three Vedas and is chronologtically the last of the four. It is important and interesting as it describes the popular beliefs and superstitions of the humble folk. Atharvaveda contains the magic spells, incorporates much of early traditions of healing and magic that are paralleled in other Indo-European literatures.

Vedic literature is a religious piece of literature that originated in olden Indian times and had been written in the Vedic Sanskrit language. The Vedas are among the earliest Hindu scriptures which include hymns, liturgical formulas, and prayers. The pieces of Vedic literature are linked to a major part of Indian history and our cultural heritage, making it an important topic in the Indian history syllabus of the UPSC GS II examination. The Vedic literature is the most valuable source of information about the Aryans and the Vedic period.

There are two major types of Vedic literature, such as Smriti literature and Shruti literature. Questions are asked frequently related to the pieces of Vedic literature in the exam. It is necessary to be up to date with all the types of pieces of literature, when they were written and what message they convey. The aspirants preparing for the UPSC exam can download the Vedic literature UPSC PDF for effective preparation.

There are two main types of Vedic literature, namely, Shruti literature and Smriti literature. They are the oldest Hindu writings as well as the earliest Sanskrit literature. The Vedas are said to have been passed down from generation to generation through oral transmission. The literature of vedic period are discussed in detail in the upcoming section:

The Shruti literature is the Vedic literature that includes writings that are fundamental to Hinduism. Also, it is noted that these manuscripts are well-renowned for their findings and indisputable truths. All of the Aranyakas, Vedas, Upanishads, and Brahmanas are considered classic Shruti literature.

Smriti literature, as opposed to Shruti literature, is literature written post the Vedic period. Smriti literature refers to remembered literature. The Puranas, Upangas, Tantras, Upveda, and Itihasa are examples of classic Smriti literature. 041b061a72


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