List of Vedic Literature| Sacred Hindu Scriptures

The term Veda means “Knowledge”. Vedic literatures are most important sources of knowledge about Aryans and Vedic period. The literature had grown in the course of many centuries and was handed down from generation to generation by word of mouth which also called shruti.  Here is the list of Vedic literature which is very important for competitive examinations like UPSC, SSC, CDS, NDA, State Services, and Railways etc.





List of Vedic Literature

Literature Description
  • Compiled around 1500-1000 BC
  • Literal meaning of the term ‘rig’ is ‘to praise’
  • A collection of hymns
  • Volumes are called Mandal
  • Mandal III contains the Gayatri Mantrawhich was compiled in the praise of sun god Savitri.
  • Mandal IX contains hyms called Purusha Sukta from where varna system is discussed.
  • Rishi who were experts in Rigveda were called hotra or hotri.
  • It has many things in common withZend-Avesta, which is the oldest text in Iranian language.
  • Collection of songs and most of the songs were taken from the hymns of Rigveda.
  • Udgatri were the experts of Samaveda
  • Compilation laid the foundation of Indian Music
  • Collection of sacrificial formulae
  • Describes the rituals to be followed at the time of recitation of mantra.
  • Adhvaryu were the experts of the knowledge of Yajurveda.
  • It contain both prose and poetry
  • It is divided into two parts- Krishna Yajurvedas and Shukla Yajurveda
  • Collection of charms and spells
  • Contains magical hymns to get relief from diseases
  • Indian medicinal science i.e. Ayurvedahas its origin from Atharvaveda
The Brahamanas
  • Contains details about the meanings of Vedic hymns, their applications, and stories of their origins.
  • Aitareya or Kaushitaki Brahamnaswere allotted to the Rigveda for detailing
  • Tandya and Jaiminiya Brahamans to Samveda for detailing
  • Taittireeya and Shatpatha Brahamansto Yajurveda for detailing
  • Gopath Brahamans to the Atharvaveda for detailing
The Aranyakas
  • It means forest.
  • Written in forests for the hermits and students of the Vedas.
  • Initiated a changeover frommaterialistic religion to spiritual religion. Hence, they formed a tradition that culminates in the Upanishads
  • They are like a bridge between Vedas cum Brahamanas and Upanishads.
The Upanishads
  • The last phase of Vedic literature
  • Deals with metaphysics i.e. philosophy
  • Also called Vedanta
  • Contain subject about matter aboutsoul, brahamana, rebirth and theory of karma.
  • Emphasizes the path of knowledge
  • Literal meaning of Upanishads  is ‘to sit near the feet of’
  • Important Upanishads – ChhandogyaUpanishads, Brahadaranyaka Upanishads, Katha Upanishads, Isha Upanishads, Prasna Upanishads, Mundaka Upanishads
  • Conversation of Yama and Nachiketais the subject-matter or Katha Upanishads.
  • Satyameva Jayate in the Ntional Emblem is taken from Mundaka Upanishad.
  • Known as limbs of Vedas
  • Compiled during Sutra period. Hence it is called Sutra literature
  • There are six in number:
  1. Shiksha– Phonetics of Science of Pronounciation
  2. Kalpa– Rituals and ceremonies
  3. Vyakarana – Grammer
  4. Nirukta – Etymology (Origin of words)
  5. Chhanda – Metrics, rules of poetic composition
  6. Jyotisha– Astronomy
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