What are the Main Divisions of Veda?

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There are mainly two divisions of Veda: Sanhita and Brahmana Sanhitas are the most significant part of Vedic literature. The collection of hymns is called Sanhita. These hymns are recitated in the worship of different dieties of God.

There are four Sanhitas: Rigveda Sanhita, Yajurveda Sanhita, Samveda Sanhita and Atharvaveda Sanhita. The entire sanhitas were compiled by the great saint Ved Vyas to cater with the needs of rituals like Yajna.

The Brahmanas are ritualistic, precepts attached to the hymns of the Vedas. Brahmanas are divided into three parts: Brahmana, Aranyak and Upanishads.

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(a) Brahmana:

Although the Brahmana literature contains mainly the elucidation of the hymns (mantra) contained in the Sanhitas, its main objective is to provide a detailed description of the religious sacrifices.

Brahmana has also been called ‘Brahma literature’. Here ‘Brahma’ literary mean religious sacrifice, i.e., yajna. All the four Vedas have their individual Brahmanas.

The Rig Veda has two Brahmanas, namely Aitareya and Kaushitaka; the Sama Veda has eight of which the best known are the Pancha Vimsa, the Tandya and the Shad Vimsa: the Yajur Veda has two Taittiriya and Satapatlia and the Atharva Veda has one Brahmana called Go-patha.

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(b) Aranyakas:

Since these literary compositions have been thought and shaped in the forest, these are called Aranyakas. These contain the description of philosophical and mysterious subjects.

Aranyaks are the combination of the events of Sanhitas and Brahmanas and the philosophy of Upanishads. In all, as is believed, there are seven Aranyakas.

(c) Upanishads:

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As these constitute the concluding portion of Vedas, these are also called Vedanta. The Upanishads contain mystical and philosophical doctrines.

For the contemplative mind no study is more enthralling than that of the Upanishads, as they provide the in-depth explanation of God, life and the universe.

The better known Upanishads are the Aitareyaand Kaushitakaof the Rig Vedcr,the Tailtiriya, Brihadaranyakaand lsaof the Yajur Veda; the Chandyogyaand Ken a of the Sama Veda”,and the Prasaa, Mundaka, Mundukyaand Katha of the Atharva Veda.

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