What does "The Veda" meaning? A Brief Overview

Sanskrit-like images

The Vedas are the collective term for a set of religious texts compiled in India, the oldest in the world.

They contain knowledge about many different topics, including philosophy, ethics, rituals, and more.

While there are many different versions of the Vedas, some of which go by other names - these ancient Hindu texts continue to be revered today.

This time, I will briefly introduce the types and contents of the Vedas.

What are Vedas?

Vedas are the scripture of Brahmanism and Hinduism.

The Vedas have been dictated and discussed over time and have been written down and recorded for posterity.

The word Veda comes from the Sanskrit "Veda" which means "knowledge".

The Vedas are divided into Shruti ("that which is heard") and Smriti ("that which is remembered").

What is Shruti?

It is said to have been received from God by ancient Rishis (Saint).

It is said that it has been handed down only by word of mouth, and even when letters came to be used.

It was avoided to be written, and it was handed down from teachers to disciples.

It was written later, but it is believed that only a small part of it was actually written.

It contains the four Vedas and the four types of texts contained therein.

What is Smriti?

It is in contrast to Shruti.

It is a body of Hindu text traditionally written down by other Rishis(Saint).

Distinguished from the Vedas, the Smriti include:

  • Mahabharata
  • Ramayana
  • Manusmriti

What are the four divisions of the Vedas?

Each Veda has four subdivisions:

  • SamhitasMantras and benedictions
  • Brahmanas: Commentaries on rituals, ceremonies, and sacrifices
  • Aranyakas: Text on rituals, ceremonies, sacrifices, and symbolic-sacrifices
  • Upanishads: Texts discussing meditation, philosophy, and spiritual knowledge


Samhita refers to the original body of the Vedas.

This name is used to distinguish it from the annotations, commentaries, and philosophical sections such as Brahmanas, Arayankas, and Upanishads attached.

It is the central part of the Vedas and consists of mantras (hymns, lyrics, rituals, and incantations).

There are four types of Samhitas.

  • Rig: A Verse (poetry) collection of hymns to the gods.
  • Sama: A collection of hymns taken from the Rig Veda. The source of Indian classical music.
  • Yajur: Prose verses. such as calling on the gods.
  • Atharva: Collection of spells. It mainly describes the magical rituals of Brahmanism.

*Verse (poetry) is a sentence written according to a set rule (prosody) that gives the auditory sense of a set shape. It is commonly used in Poetry, Tanka, and Haiku.

*Prose refers to sentences such as novels and critiques that are written without being constrained by prosody and phrasing such as 5-7-5. sentences that we usually use.


Brahmanas are attached to the above four Samhitas (hymns and mantras).

They are Sanskrit texts embedded within each Veda, which explain and instruct on the performance of Vedic rituals (in which the related Samhitas are recited).

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.


The Aranyakas are part of the ancient Indian Vedas concerned with the meaning of ritual sacrifice.

Aranyakas describe and discuss rituals from various perspectives some include philosophical speculations.

Edited after Brahmana.

Therefore, it is said to be an intermediate between the Brahmanas and the Upanishads.


The Upanishads are late Vedic Sanskrit texts that supplied the basis of later Hindu philosophy.

They are the most recent part of the Vedas.

The most recent part of the Vedas, the oldest scriptures of Hinduism, deals with:

  • Meditation
  • Philosophy
  • Consciousness
  • Ontological knowledge

Also, Earlier parts of the Vedas deal with :

  • Mantras
  • Benedictions
  • Rituals
  • Ceremonies
  • Sacrifices

While among the most important literature in the history of Indian religions and culture.

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