Ancient India

Vedic Literature

Early Vedic Literature

The word Veda is derived from the word ‘vid’which means knowledge or wisdom. Vedas are the greatest gift by the Aryans to the Indian culture and civilization. Besides religion these Vedas throw light on the social and economic life of the Vedic and Later Vedic period. The term Vedic literature includes;

Four Vedas

Rig Veda:

Collection of lyrics in praise of different gods recited by the priest called Hotri. It contains 1028 suktas divided into 10 mandalas.

Sama Veda:

All of its verses except 75 being taken from RIgVeda. It was1549 or 1810 shlokas which were sung on the holy occasion of Yajnas by the Udgatri priests.

Yajur Veda:

Deals with the procedure for the performance of sacrifices. It has 40 chapters and about 2000 mantras. It contains ritual as well as hymns recited by Adharvayu.

Atharva Veda:

It has 20 mandals, 731 richas and 5889 Mantras. It is known as Non Aryan work. It is a collection of songs, spells and incantations for the cure of disease, the restoration of harmony and exorcism of evil spirits etc.


They are ritual texts. The sole object of the authors was to speculate on and mystify minute details of Brahmanical sacrifices. There are separate Brahmanas for each Vedas.


They are the concluding portion of the Brahmanas. The literary meanings of Aranyaka is forest. They were written by sages in the forests. They deal with mysticism and symbolism.


Upanishads are usually called Vedanta. The later philosophers found in them the ultimate aim of the Veda. The Upanishads are 108 in number and have been written by different sages between the period from 1000-500 BC.

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