Vedas - About the Scriptural Writing of Hinduism

19th century manuscript of the Rig Veda in Sanskrit in the Devanagari script.
19th century manuscript of the Rig Veda in Sanskrit in the Devanagari script. PD Courtesy of Wikipedia

Remarkable for both their age and length, there are four Sanskrit sacred hymns known as the Vedas.

The texts of the Vedas are called Samhitas, and the Vedic (adjectival form of "Veda" from a root word vid- for 'knowledge') prayers are known as Mantras. The Rgveda (Rig Veda), Samaveda, the Yajurveda, and the Atharvaveda are the four books of the Vedas, in chronological order. The Rgveda is thought to have been written between 1200 B.C.

and 800 or 1500 and 1200, in the Punjab. Decker-Walters writes:

"It is believed to have originated as an oral history by Indo-Aryan inhabitants of the Indus River Valley during the early second millenium B.C., if not much earlier."

In contrast: Determining the Age of Saraswat Community, from Archaeology Daily News, says Vedic scholar Dr. NS Rajaram suggests "Such sites [as Kunal and others along the Sarasvati River] are likely to date to 3500 BCE or earlier. These when found are likely to be from the Age of Rigveda."

Related to the Latin word videre 'to see', Veda means knowledge. The Vedas are said to come from Lord Krishna. The Vedas contain knowledge about mundane necessities as well as spirituality essential for Hinduism and its predecessor, Brahmanism.

Commentaries, including the Brahmanas, Aryanakas, and Upanishads are also called Vedic writing.

  • George Michaels, Gregory L. Possehl, Charles Higham, Song Nai Rhee, Carla M. Sinopoli "Asia" The Oxford Companion to Archaeology. Brian M. Fagan, ed., Oxford University Press 1996.
  • "Πανδαιη and Sītā: On the Historical Background of the Sanskrit Epics"
    Asko Parpola
    Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 122, No. 2, (Apr. - Jun., 2002), pp. 361-373.
  • close Cucurbits, Sanskrit, and the Indo-Aryas," by Deena S. Decker-Walters; Economic Botany, Vol. 53, No. 1 (Jan. - Mar., 1999), pp. 98-112.

    Also Known As: Rig-Veda, Yajur-Veda, Sama-Veda, and Atharva-Veda